ISA Server 2004 Service Pack 2 is now available for download from Microsoft and has just gone into deployment on my home network (which I often use as a test network). Aside from the expected hotfix rollup, there’s a couple of nice new features. The SP2 biggies for me:
- Support for proxying HTTP compression. Not only does ISA support serving compressed content from its cache, it also requests compressed content from upstream sites. This is very good news, as I’ve been eyeing the necessity of enabling HTTP compression to help deal with the traffic for the Community Server and DotNetNuke websites I host.
- BITS caching allows ISA server’s cache to download updates from Windows/Microsoft Update once, then serve additional requests out of cache. This is great news for small office/branch offices that aren’t using WSUS. Updates only travel the WAN link once.
If someone at Microsoft wanted to make my life really easy, they’d include an updated auto-discovery wizard for building site-to-site IPsec/L2TP links. So far, every time I’ve gone to create one, I end up spending a couple of hours troubleshooting, then rolling back the configuration changes in disgust. ISA 2004 is an amazing firewall, but there’s still much goodness to be committed.
Of course, maybe it’s coming in theISA Server 2006 Beta. The ability to publish multiple Exchange and Sharepoint servers looks very interesting. I’m definitely going to have to give that a download one of these years.