In an aggressive move into Microsoft's server market Apple has added new features to the upcoming Mac OS 10.6 (a.k.a. Snow Leopard) that will make it a viable (and less expensive) alternative to Redmond's offerings.
Apple has previously hinted at Snow Leopard's upcoming "Remote Access" features, describing them as being a combination of new "push notifications to mobile users outside your firewall" and a proxy service providing "secure remote access to email, address book contacts, calendars, and select internal websites" reports AppleInsider.
A WWDC 2009 session preview describes how the new proxy service works and presents its new name for the service:
The Mobile Access Server provides a path through a corporate firewall for IMAP, SMTP, HTTP, and CalDAV without using VPN. Learn about the features of, and deployment tips for, this powerful new service in Snow Leopard Server.
The new Mobile Access Server will allow clients to access internal network resources from their iPhone or iPod touch without having to first initiate a secure VPN tunnel. The advantage of the new Mobile Access Server components will be cost.
AppleInsider created a chart comparing the costs of comparable Windows and Apple servers with 100 Client Access Licenses (CALs) and the Microsoft offering costs almost 10x more than the Apple solution.
I sense another TV commercial coming...
Tip and chart: AppleInsider