Microsoft ISA Server Editions

Welcome back to our series on Microsoft’s ISA Server 2004. In our previous article, we talked about some of the features of ISA 2004. This time, we’ll talk about the two editions of the product and how they differ from each other and their predecessor, ISA Server 2000. We’ll also talk about the various upgrade paths from ISA 2000 to 2004.

ISA Server 2004 comes in two flavors: the Standard Edition and the Enterprise Edition. Although both offer similar features, such as the firewall, caching server, and proxy server capabilities, they differ in how they are implemented, the size of the infrastructure they are targeted for, and some advanced features. We’ll discuss the features of each and the differences between the two in this article.

ISA Server 2004 Standard Edition is the basic ISA Server package. It’s suitable for almost all networks, and is used mainly in a stand-alone environment. It can be used in small- or branch-office type of scenarios, or when you only need one ISA server installed to fulfill a specific role (such as a web proxy). It can be deployed in all of the roles previously discussed, including proxy server, caching server, and firewall configurations, or a combination of all three.

ISA Server Standard Edition differs from the Enterprise Edition in that it stores its configuration data in the local registry, instead of in a central location, such as Active Directory. This means that if you make any configuration changes that need to be applied to all of your ISA servers, you’ll have to go to each one and make the change individually. Additionally, Standard Edition does not support a centralized caching database configuration, as Enterprise Edition does when configured in an array. Each Standard Edition server has its own separate content cache.