The Instant Virtual Extranet (IVE) Access 3000 from Neoteris is a hardware/software hybrid SSL VPN appliance that offers users access to network resources securely. These resources also encompass web-enabled applications and email software (Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange), as well as Unix file shares.
The box we tested sits in the middle of the company's product line between the Access 1000, which is a standalone product, and the Access 5000, which is designed with the needs of the larger enterprise in mind. The Access 3000 is intended to be used in a two-unit fail over cluster with load balancing as well as offering single unit use. All of this is based on standard Intel hardware.
The 1U rack makes its presence felt immediately when first powered up. Its fans are very noisy so it would probably be consigned to the furthest reaches of the server room. However, its looks more than make up for its loudness.
The IVE software runs atop an especially hardened version of Red Hat Linux. And in turn this software has a custom web server acting as both proxy and portal to applications.
We found setting up the box tremendously easy as all it involved was connecting an Ethernet port to the LAN inside the firewall. After that we managed to set up access to the applications we wanted to use in a matter of minutes. Once IP addresses had been configured via a serial port and a hyper-terminal session, we had to log onto Neoteris's support web site to download and install an upgraded version of the software that runs the VPN. We also had to apply a license key to unlock certain features of the software, although we were uncertain as to why this was so.
We welcomed the range of ways users are authenticated. This can be done using either an internal database or an external one such as LDAP, Windows domains/Active Directory, Radius or Unix NIS. Navigating is via configurable bookmarks and web links. Files that have been downloaded and altered have to be saved locally and uploaded back to the remote server.
We found access to network resources and web email surprisingly quick and easy to navigate despite the extra layer of security the box brings. The appliance is definitely worth considering, as its ease of use and security aspects are very good.