Monday, 3 June 2013

Ishlangu 1.4 Released - Web Acceleration and Optimization is here!

The latest release of Ishlangu load balancer and application delivery controller is out now. It hasn't been very long since our previous instalment was released, but we couldn't hold back our excitement any longer.
  XenServer and Hyper-V
Previously Ishlangu only came packaged as an ISO or OVF for VMWare vSphere. We now package Ishlangu for Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V.  This makes it even easier for you to install Ishlangu on your virtual infrastructure. 
  DNS Lookup
Under Support > Tools there is a new section called DNS Lookup.  From here you can diagnose any DNS misconfiguration.
  Web Content Optimization / Acceleration
Ishlangu now comes with its very on set of web optimization / acceleration techniques. Web resources can now be optimized by Ishlangu on the fly. Content can now be made smaller, and thus be transfered to your users faster. It is so simple to use because it is activated by your uControl Script rules. The WCO features are available for the following resources: Cascading Style Sheets, Javascript, and web images.

If you want to optimize a resource just add to your uControl rule one of the following new functions:


Thats it! There's no need to fill out a complicated form telling Ishlangu where to start optimizing content, what types of content to optimize, which browsers to do the optimizations for.  All you have to do is tell Ishlangu to optimize the response, and it'll do it for you.

So, what's the big deal about Web Content Optimization/Acceleration? Why is it so important? Why are we making such a big deal about it? It's simple really. It all boils down to one word... speed. We all want websites to load fast. In fact, we want them to load really fast. Just take a look at our previous blog about page speed and website load times and you'll understand why it is so important.

Optimizing content such as CSS, Javascript, and images means that your web pages will load faster.  Faster loading web pages means better user retention.  Better user retention means better conversion rates.  Better conversion rates means more revenue, and we all love more revenue :)

As well as these new features, there is the usual round of general improvements and bug fixes.

We highly recommend existing users upgrade now to take advantage of WCO and the other new features.


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Securely publishing web apps in a post-TMG world

For years Microsoft TMG and Microsoft's Unified Access Gateway (Which heavily relies on TMG for its application firewalling capabilities) gave organisations the ability to securely publish and load balance their enterprise web apps such as SharePoint, Exchange, Sage or Lync. However, as we've all come to understand, Microsoft has pulled the plug on their ForeFront Threat Management Gateway 2010 - Forefront Product Roadmaps AnnouncementThis leaves quite a few enterprises out in the cold. 

One key feature of TMG, was that it offered customers a way to publish and protect workload servers such as Exchange Client Access Servers and Front-End Web Sharepoint Services; especially in Internet Facing deployments where a clean separation between critical infrastructure and the public internet is essential.

Figure 1 - Showing existing TMG deployment 

How are organisations going to be able to achieve this without TMG? Shaka Technologies has the solution in their latest release of Ishlangu Application Delivery Controller.

Introducing Ishlangu Application Access Plans

With the latest release of Ishlangu, Shaka Technologies has introduced a new feature called Access Plans. Access Plans are user authorization and access controls you can assign to Ishlangu proxies. These plans authenticate user access to applications published with Ishlangu. 

Figure 2 - Application deployments simplified with Ishlangu Access Plans

End-Point Authentication

When an Access Plan is in use, a user will be presented with a customisable logon page. The user enters his/her credentials (for example, a logon name and password), which are then passed to the configured authentication service. In the event of a successful authentication, the client is allowed to access the application. However, if there was an authentication failure, the client will be blocked until valid credentials are provided.

Single Sign-on across Published Applications

Once a user has successfully authenticated, Ishlangu will then maintain that user's session, and if required provide single sign-on across multiple sub-domains. Ishlangu single sign-on provides your users with seamless access to all your secure web applications (SharePoint, Exchange...) without having to login multiple times:

Video 1 - Ishlangu Access Plans and Single Sign-on in action!

uControl Script™ Integration with Access Plans

uControl Script is an easy-to-use tool that understands how web applications work, and provides real-time control of the traffic passing through Ishlangu. In fact, Ishlangu uControl Script™ is the most powerful way to manage applications. With uControl Script™ Access Plan integration, Ishlangu gives you the control to manage, monitor and log authenticated user sessions. For example you can log successful user access, clear user sessions that navigate away or request invalid URLs.  

On top of all these great features, Ishlangu also provides Application Layer Firewalling, SSL Offloading, Load Balancing, Content Compression, Content Caching, Geo-IP Location Services, HTTP/TCP Multiplexing and High Availability to provide a highly scalable and secure web app publishing solution.

Large and small businesses are deploying vast numbers of internet facing applications to support ever expanding business requirements. This rapidly growing number of servers needs to be scalable and highly reliable. Above all, the access to these servers and services needs to be secure. With the new release of Ishlangu Application Delivery Controller, Shaka Technologies aims to deliver on customer security requirements for internet facing applications in a world without Forefront TMG. While continuing to address requirements for feature-rich and cost-effective application acceleration, scalability and high reliability.

If you haven't tried Ishlangu before, what is stopping you? Request a free trial now.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ishlangu 1.3 is out. Download today!

We are proud to announce the release of Ishlangu 1.3.  The community provided us with some feature requests that we were more than happy to include in our latest instalment.
 External Authentication
The Ishlangu administrative console now supports LDAP and Active Directory authentication.  Administrators can now hook Ishlangu into the network's LDAP/AD service and login using accounts on those authentication servers.
 Event Logging
Ishlangu now records events.  A few examples of events include: Ishlangu license expiry, Health Monitor alerts, XSS injection attempts.  These events, and more, will all be recorded in the event system.  The latest events are reported to you on the Dashboard and all events can be viewed in the new 'Event Log' page.
 Fine-Grained Access Control
You now have the power to control not only who has access to the Ishlangu admin console, but also what they have access to.  If you want John to be able to create uControl Script rules, but not apply them to Proxies, you can!  If you want Steve to view the reporting pages only, you can!  With Ishlangu's Fine-Grained Access Control you can make sure users only see and do what they are supposed to.
This was a big one.  The community wanted to know who did what (and when) to the system.  Now, if John changes the connection timeout of a Proxy, Ishlangu will record when, who, where, and what was changed.  A new proxy, you didn't know about, gets added to the system?  You'll be able to find out who did it, and when. Ishlangu doesn't just tell you that something changed, it tells you what was changed.  You'll be able to determine exactly what happened and who did it.  Don't worry about having to scroll through pages of logs either. We have added a brand new section to the admin console that allows you to search the audit log for a specific user/group/ip to help you find out whats going on.
 Single Sign On (SSO)
SSO is another community based feature request.  Ishlangu can now automatically sign a user into one or more backend servers.  Here is a quick example:

You have three sharepoint sites. Without an SSO solution, your users would have to log into each one of those sharepoint sites individually. 
Put those three sites behind an Ishlangu unit and Ishlangu can handle the login on behalf of the user.  When a unauthenticated user tries to access one of your sites, Ishlangu presents a login page to the user.  Once the user successfully logs in, that user will be able to access content from any of those three sites without having to login again.

As far as we are aware, we are the only ADC that offers these features (especially the SSO) as standard.

We hope you enjoy the new features in this latest release of Ishlangu.  If you haven't tried Ishlangu before, what is stopping you?  Request a free trial now.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ishlangu 1.2 is here!!

We have just released version 1.2.  It has new features as well as important improvements and bug-fixes.
 Faster Cache
We've improved the performance of our HTTP cache.  It now responds faster to requests meaning page load times are faster than ever.
 Active Health Monitoring
Active Health Monitoring has been added in this release.  Now you can monitor your back-end servers health by sending a PING or HTTP(s) request and inspecting the response. If the health check fails, the server will not receive any more requests.  Once the health check succeeds, the server will become active again and Ishlangu will start forwarding requests to it.
 New Notifications
New notifications have been added.  Ishlangu now monitors the SSL certificates and license details.  If an SSL certificate has expired, or is about to, Ishlangu will send out a notification to administrators so they can take appropriate action.
 AV-Engine / Security Signatures
The AV-Engine and Security Signatures have been updated, giving you and your company peace of mind.

Updating to the new release is so simple.  Just navigate to the Updates page on your Ishlangu admin-console, click the download button, then click the install button. Pretty easy isn't it?  

Enjoy the new features... more are just around the corner!