Novell Inc. will release an open beta of the next version of its firewall, proxy server and VPN in early July.

Version 3.8 of BorderManager will include a standards-based VPN, improved installation and management and support for more than 50 authentication methods.

BorderManager 3.8 is part of Novell's Nsure secure identity platform. Novell claims that while most customers buy BorderManager for the proxy services, that it is bolstering the VPN capabilities in this version. The VPN code is new and uses IPsec.

It also will support the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, allowing it to authenticate users to Microsoft's Active Directory or any LDAP-compliant directory service. It will also let users use digital certificates to allow secure user access.

BorderManager 3.8 also includes the Novell Modular Authentication Service (NMAS), as the RADIUS server.

Further, this version of BorderManager supports mobile users, biometrics and smart card use. It also works with SurfControl, N2H2 and Connectotel and includes a client firewall.

The next version of Novell's caching product, codenamed Shadowbox, will be shipping later this year on the Linux platform. The caching product, Excelerator 3.0, acts as a forward and reverse proxy, as well as providing authentication and access services.

Novell claims that BorderManager is installed in 20,000 customer locations and has about 10 million users. It competes against Microsoft's ISA Server.

Users will be able to download the beta in mid-July.

BorderManager is US$40 per user. It works on the NetWare platform.