Digital Evolution Launches XML VPNs

The tools--the XML VPN Controller and XML VPN Appliance--comprise the Santa Monica, Calif.-based vendor's foray into XML-based VPNs, enabling solution providers to offer customers Web services implementations with increased security.

"This picks up where the traditional VPN leaves off," said Ian Goldsmith, vice president of product marketing. "Our tools implement the same concept for XML, only they do it in the VPN application, embedding security credentials inside the message itself."

With the rapid adoption of service-oriented architecture (SOA) standards by enterprises and government entities, an increasing number of organizations are turning to XML to manage partner intranets and deliver these types of solutions.

As Goldsmith explained, the Digital Evolution XML VPN appliances allow customers to create a layer of abstraction between Web services and the consumers who access them, essentially establishing a secure connection through the Web services interface.

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Specifically, the XML VPN Controller features provisioning tools to invite and coordinate communities of Web services users, while the XML VPN Appliance boasts management tools to handle Quality of Service issues and other features, such as automated PKI support.

Still, some VPN experts were skeptical. Kim Jones, CEO of Spinning Electrons, a consulting firm in San Francisco, said that while the thinking behind Digital Evolution's approach is sound, the technology may be too dependent on other Digital Evolution products, essentially handcuffing solution providers that want to integrate it with solutions from other vendors.

"My take for the moment is that this is too proprietary and one-offish in an SOA world that needs convergence on a standards-based solution," Jones said.

Both the XML VPN Controller and the XML VPN Appliance are available now. Pricing starts at $75,000.