To paraphrase a statement by Arthur C. Clarke “the way to find the limits of what is  possible is to push in to the realm of the impossible.” In the world of networks there are things that have formerly been impossible but are now in the realm of reality.  Streaming HD video content delivery on an internetwork.  IT guy's vacationThat’s a big deal!  What would we do without TV.  Composite IP network protocol that natively understands both IPV4 and IPV6.  Think of the possibilities!  While both of these advances are spectacular if we take the next step we get to something truly amazing!  Secure Direct Intra-network access using internal network credentials (held in Active Directory) from anywhere with an internet connection.  You read that correctly.  That means secure connectivity to your internal corporate network even if your connecting from Starbucks.  I know what you’re thinking.  How? 

We stood on the shoulders of giants and took the next step.

IPV6 from the composite IP protocol provides the base functionality.  Then we add the functionality of Active Directory, Network Access Protection and a Direct Access server. Bingo.  The nirvana of network access.  You will notice that at no time during that description did I mention the 3 letter acronym VPN.  I didn’t mention it because we don’t use it.  VPN offered a connection that had to be turned on and validated and then disconnected when we were finished using it.  That is just not really effective.  Especially in light of the current environment in which our portable machines operate.  The last thing we want is to have a mode of operations where the security policies of our network don’t apply.

One of the best things about Direct Access is that the connection is always on.  That means that the security policies (GPO’s) of the network apply to the machine all the time.  We can provide a degree of protection and control to our portable machines and users that has hitherto been “Impossible.”  If you haven’t tried Direct Access its time to pull out the white papers and step by step guides and take this technology out for a spin.  Take my word for it, You will love it!   

Here’s a great intro video to get you started.  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd572177.aspx

Here’s the Direct Access Step by Step guide for Lab testing.  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=8D47ED5F-D217-4D84-B698-F39360D82FAC&displaylang=en

Here’s to Arthur C. Clarke and to doing the things that we consider impossible.