Juniper recently released a new version of software for their SSL VPN (Secure Access) appliances. The new release is important because it finally addresses a problem that was original documented on my blog in this post. While I have yet to deploy this new software release (I would be interested in hearing from those that have) I thought it warranted a new post.
This latest version of software now supports Windows Secure Application Manager (WSAM) when used on Windows XP 64-bit and Windows Vista 64-bit clients. There was no mention of Windows 7 which is due to be released October 22, 2009. I did find it interesting that Internet Explorer 8 was only “compatible” with respect to a few of the features while Internet Explorer 7 was “qualified” with all features (review Juniper Secure Access 6.5 Supported Platforms document for specifics). I did a quick search over in the Juniper forums and found some reports that Host Checker wasn’t working properly with Windows 7 RC.
There were two new features that jumped out at me in the What’s New document;
SA 6.5 simplifies the use of RDP sessions for end users without requiring them or administrators to create bookmarks.
- Simplifies ease of use for remote users to RDP into remote desktops by merely clicking a button or entering a hostname or IP Address of the remote computer.
- Simplifies the configuration for administrators and reduces the number of support calls from users who are unable to figure out how to RDP to remote computers.
Secure Access (SA) version 6.5 interoperates with VDI products, including VMWare’s View Manager and Citrix’s XenDesktop, enabling administrators to deploy virtual desktops alongside the SA series of SSL VPN devices. This allows the SA administrator to configure centralized remote access policies for users who access their virtual desktops.
- This provides a centralized point of configuration for administrators to configure remote access policies for virtual desktop access through leading virtualization products from VMWare and Citrix.
- SA 6.5 provides end users the VDI client to access the virtual desktop through, and provides flexible client fallback options thereby simplifying the deployment and management for administrators.
We have a lot of folks looking to access their corporate desktops remotely and the RDP (Terminal Services) feature of the Juniper SSL VPN really helps fill that role.
What’s New in Juniper Networks Secure Access (SA) SSL VPN Version 6.5
Juniper Secure Access 6.5 Release Notes
WSAM and Network Connect Error Messages Release 6.5
Juniper Secure Access 6.5 Support Platforms
Update: Thursday November 5, 2009
Let me get right to the point, I would not recommend anyone deploy 6.5R1 on their Juniper Secure Access appliances. There are known issues with the Juniper Windows Secure Application Manager (WSAM) and the following four security suites; Norton 360, Symantec AntiVirus, Zone Alarm Security, ESET NOD32. Users with Norton 360 could experience a blue screen of death (BSOD) using the Juniper Windows Secure Application Manager. Juniper has a hotfix available for 6.5R1 that resolves the BSOD issues with Norton 360. The hotfix is not generally available on the Juniper website so you must contact JTAC for the hotfix.
Additional information can be found at this post; http://blog.michaelfmcnamara.com/2009/10/norton-360-and-juniper-ssl-vpn-wsam/
Update: Friday September 19, 2009
A quick update… I’ve setup a spare SA4000 and received a demo license from Juniper to test the 6.5R1 software release (thanks Matt!). I’m happy to report that the upgrade on the appliance was very smooth although it took about 6 minutes for the appliance to boot back up giving me a few frightful thoughts. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the client software. I’m still in the process of testing but it appears that non-Administrator users (users that don’t have Administrator rights on the PC) won’t be functional after the upgrade until an Administrator manually installs the latest and greatest Juniper Installer Service. The Juniper Installer Service is designed to allow the client software to upgrade when the user doesn’t have Administrator rights. Users with Administrator rights work fine so long as they answer the prompts to install the new version of the Juniper Installer Service. I hope to release a detailed post in the next few days including some testing of Windows Vista 64-bit desktops.