I’d like to welcome a new guest blogger to the NAP Blog – Chris Edson. Chris is a senior engineer on NAP, and a huge resource to the team. If you have met him, you know what I am talking about. He just returned from his trip down to Las Vegas/Interop and wanted to share his experience! Go NAP!
Over the last several years, the NAP team at Microsoft has been busy building not only a platform to support and drive NAP, but a partner ecosystem that allows many other companies in the networking space and beyond to leverage the NAP platform to provide value to their own customers. One of the neat things about Interop is that, due to the focus of the show, it really allows us to showcase the work we’ve down with our partners – not just by pointing to their pavilions, but by including some of their displays within our own pavilion.
In addition to those partners that build on ‘top’ of the NAP platform (SHV/SHA creators), we were also able to showcase the fact that NAP, as an enforcement mechanism, works across many types of network hardware. The booth I helped run demonstrates that NAP 802.1x EAP-based enforcement works across a wide variety of switches by utilizing various combinations of standard RADIUS attributes to help control client access based upon the NAP assessments.
Apart from the Microsoft pavilion and those of our partner companies, there were also the Interop Labs activities – this is something that has been conducted at Interop over the last several years, but I think it has really grown in the number of participants, judging by the amount of hardware that was integrated into the lab environment. The Interop Labs had a section dedicated to Network Access Control technologies – of which NAP is a leading solution. The team behind Interop Labs took it upon themselves to put together a showcase environment that allowed participants to really get hands on with various NAC solutions (including NAP) and that hardware and software behind them. I had many visitors to the Microsoft pavilion who had spent time in the Interop Labs and overall the impressions were good.
In fact, NAC as a technology area is becoming so important; Interop has dedicated an entire day’s worth of workshop time to the topic!
But perhaps the most enjoyable part of working at the NAP station in the Microsoft pavilion was the excitement and anticipation people displayed when they came by the booth to discuss NAP. Many had very good questions about how NAP works, how it interoperates with the hardware on display, how it interoperates with Cisco’s NAC, how the two solutions compare, what other choices for enforcement they have, and how partners can get ‘plugged in’ to the NAP solution. The interest in NAP was stronger than we sometimes realize when we are hard at work on the product – it is energizing to be reminded how big of an impact this project is really going to have!
Many visitors told me they would be returning home to try out NAP, either in test labs or in real world deployments – and many were quite excited when they realized that the full set of NAP platforms is now available (Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP3)!
So I’ll remind all the readers again that the NAP Platform is ready to go! Go get your copy of Windows Server 2008, and your client(s) of choice (Windows Vista or Windows XP SP3), and check out Network Access Protection – we have tons of information, including detailed step-by-step test lab guides, located at our portal.
May all your networks be healthy!
- Chris Edson
NAP Engineering Team
Enterprise Security Group