Zeus Technology has updated its flagship Zeus Extensible Traffic Manager (ZXTM) software, ZXTM 4.2. It now includes features such as forward proxy capabilities, improved web caching and increased security and encryption support.

The new features allow users to improve the performance of web-enabled applications and gain greater control over inbound and outbound Internet traffic, according to Zeus. Forward proxy gives better control of employees' or customers' Internet access, because it makes all ZXTM’s content inspection, rewriting, caching, bandwidth management and rate limiting features work on outgoing traffic.

Zeus reckoned that this enables a host of new uses, such as content filtering, service differentiation and content transformation, which will be particularly compelling for mobile operators. The forward proxy capabilities will also benefit organisations that wish to monitor and control which Internet resources their internal users can access, said the company.

The latest release of ZXTM features support for nCipher’s NetHSM cryptographic key management products, providing FIPS 140-2 level 3 compliant storage for SSL keys. According to Zeus, this is particularly useful for organisations such as retailers and banks that need to provide highly secure online services for handling transactions as it enables ZXTM to be integrated with existing secure PKI systems.

Zeus said that it's also improved the performance of web-enabled applications. These include enhanced web caching capabilities to improve the management of cache content and deliver better performance on multi-core servers and easier set-up with Java application servers through built-in support for J2EE session persistence methods.

ZXTM 4.2 also features improved activity monitoring, giving organisations greater insight into system statistics, such as CPU and memory usage, reckoned the company. The new release features support for the PKCS#11 SSL acceleration capabilities of Sun’s Niagara chips, improvements to Zeus’ TrafficScript programming language to make coding easier and SOAP API extensions that are claimed to improve the management of backups and to allow tighter integration with provisioning systems.

"ZXTM has long been the industry’s most flexible and powerful software-based traffic manager, helping organisations improve the speed, reliability and manageability of web-enabled applications," said company chairman Paul Brennan. "The latest release builds on this with new features that extend the functionality of the platform, provide support for industry-leading security standards and improve content management and site performance."

ZXTM is available as software that can be deployed on traditional servers, blade servers, in virtual environments and as part of third party solutions. It is also available as a pre-configured hardware appliance.