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The software giant said it is lining up hardware partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Network Engines for its Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server software, due to launch later this year.
Companies such as CheckPoint Software Technologies and SonicWall have been longtime players in the market for security appliances, which are networked computers, often with self-updating and configuring software, plugged directly into networks to protect them from attacks and allow secure access over the Internet.
Jonathan Perera, senior director at Microsoft's security technology unit, said the software was designed to run right "out of the box" without complicated installations.
"It's really the first turnkey solution that we're going to deliver to our customers as a security appliance," Perera said.
Microsoft made the announcement at its annual TechEd conference in San Diego.
Microsoft, which is two years into itsto make its software more reliable and secure, is not only focusing on improving its Windows desktop, it's also looking to sell security software to businesses.
Many businesses have adopted appliance security products as a way to make their internal networks more secure with a minimum of hassle.
Microsoft and HP said they were able, in some instances, to get their new offering, with the ISA Server running on an HP blade server, up and running in three minutes.
ISA Server 2004 will be available in the third quarter of 2004, at a price of $1,499 per main microprocessor chip, per server, Microsoft said.