Oblixs identity management products are designed to provide not only secure sign-on to Web portals, but also ongoing security control by monitoring a users identity even once he or she has signed on to a site.
The technology addresses what has become a hot market, thanks in large part to regulatory pressures coming from sources such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Californias privacy act.
"The idea of having accountability, determining who accessed which resources, that you can demonstrate that youve implemented things like separation of duties and those kind of audit controls, is [particularly] important in the government market," said Phil Schacter, vice president of security and identity management at Burton Group, headquartered in Midvale, Utah.
As the market has heated up, so too have acquisitions in this space accelerated.
With Mondays announcement, Oracle joins a gaggle of vendors that are vying to deliver identity management solutions that enterprises can use in heterogeneous environments.
To wit: In October, Computer Associates International Inc. announced it would buy identity management vendor Netegrity Inc. for $430 million in cash.
Similarly, BMC Software Inc. picked up identity management vendor Calendra for $33 million in January.
"Clearly, identity management is starting to become a market for larger companies," Schacter said.
"[Vendors] have to be able to execute in global markets [and] to sell and support these technologies. Big vendors have recognized how important identity management is to the larger platforms and systems management and securities management strategies for their big accounts."
With the acquisition, Oracle will be picking up about 200 Oblix enterprise customers, Schacter said, and the opportunity to acquire far more.
"Oracles goal in acquiring Oblix is more to expand its capabilities to deliver identity management services for more than just the Oracle environment and Oracle customers, but also to be able to support broader enterprise needsto have identity management that would work with any platform, any application server," he said.
Click here to read more about Oracle reporting increased third-quarter revenue and earnings.
Larger players in the identity management space include Novell Inc., RSA Security Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc. and, in particular, IBM with its Tivoli product line.
The Oblix purchase is Oracles second identity management acquisition in less than a year. Oracle purchased Phaos Technology Corp. in May 2004, acquiring the potential to provision users across systemsan area also being worked on by the Liberty Alliance.
In July, Oracle joined the Liberty Alliance, a global consortium devoted to developing an open, federated identity standard.
There is little overlap between the Oblix and Phaos acquisitions, Schacter said, although Oblix has implemented some of the same protocols as Phaos.
Whereas Phaos never put an enterprise solution into the market, mostly selling toolkits and OEMing its products to other identity management vendors, Oblix has been in the enterprise market for some four or five years, offering a product line initially focused on Web access management, Web single sign-on and identity administration.
That is primarily the product line that Oracle will integrate with its Identity Management technology, said Schacter, who was briefed on the acquisition last week.
For its part, Oblix acquired Confluent Systems last year.
It picked up Web services management technology in that purchasetechnology that Oracle will integrate with its Application Server and Portal products, Schacter said.
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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.