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Determining the Role of ISA Server

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

ISA Server can act as a firewall, a Web caching server, or both in your network. Figure 5.2 shows the process for determining the role of your ISA server.

Figure 5.2   Determining the Role of ISA Server

Determining the Role of ISA Server

You can install ISA Server in firewall, cache, or integrated mode.

  • In firewall mode, you can secure network communication by configuring rules and access policies that control communication between your internal network and the Internet. You can also publish internal servers.

  • In cache mode, you can improve network performance and save bandwidth by storing frequently accessed content closer to the user. You can also route requests from internal users to the appropriate Web server and publish Web servers in cache mode.

  • In integrated mode, all cache and firewall features are available. You can configure a policy to meet both cache performance and security requirements.

Use Table 5.1 to determine which mode of ISA Server installation is most appropriate in your network.

Table 5.1   Determining the ISA Server Installation Mode


Goal Mode

Secure your connection to the Internet, connect remote offices, or implement secure extranets.


Increase performance of your Internet connection.


Secure your connection to the Internet and increase the performance of your Internet connection.


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