Novell BorderManager vs. Network Appliance's NetCache
Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
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Posted: 11 Apr 2003
On the surface, Novell BorderManager (NBM) and NetCache may appear to be similar products. However, careful examination of the feature sets reveals a different emphasis in each -- two different solutions that have some feature overlap, but that are best characterized as complimentary, not competing.
NetCache is a dedicated-function cache device comparable in functionality to Volera Excelerator from Novell. The strategic emphasis of NetCache, like Excelerator, appears to be streaming media and content distribution. NetCache is a bi-directional infrastructure device (that is, inside-looking-out or vice versa) best used in combination with security solutions such as NBM and/or Novell iChain.
NBM, while built on top of one of the fastest cache engines on the plant -- Novell FastCache -- is primarily a "security three A's" solution. Unlike NetCache, NBM is based on proxy technology. The strategic emphasis of NBM is authentication, authorization, and administration via optimized forward proxies. NBM does include other services (VPN and firewall), but the primary strength and purpose of the product is Internet access control -- the ability to control and monitor the Internet activity of private network users, by identity.
NBM is based on Novell eDirectory, a cross-platform directory service that can integrate with ANY identity repository of any kind -- not just LDAP directories -- via DirXML. The flexibility, scalability, performance, and integration potential of Novell eDirectory is a unique advantage for NBM as an Internet access control solution. In any environment, NBM can bring identity-based Internet access control and logging into the transparent, automated eProvisioning process.
NBM is part of the Novell Secure Access suite, which includes snap-in solutions for single sign-on and strong authentication (tokens, biometrics, etc.).
NBM includes proxies for all commonly used Internet services -- HTTP, FTP, DNS, Telnet, SMTP, NNTP, RealAudio/RTSP, etc., as well as generic TCP and UPD proxies which can be configured for other services. NetCache has none of these capabilities.
For maximum flexibility in large environments, NBM can peacefully coexist in a CERN or ICP-based cache hierarchy with dedicated function cache devices such as NetCache and Excelerator.
Unlike NetCache, NBM is licensed by user, which means as many proxy servers as necessary may be installed to accommodate redesign or evolving network topology.
If the primary goal is identity-based Internet access control, there is no question that NBM is the superior solution.
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