Cisco Systems is making a major play for the access policy management market with the acquisition of Securent, but several analysts are questioning whether the merger will result in acrimony or marital bliss.
The acquisition, valued at about $100 million, gives Cisco the capability to allow customers to audit and enforce access policies to applications, data and infrastructure from the network as enterprises shift to SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and adopt technologies such as Unified Communications.
But to Gartner analyst Earl Perkins, unified communications is something of a strange area for Securent to reside in.
"It represents a good catch for Cisco, but the question is do they know what to do with it?" Perkins asked rhetorically. "Securent would have had more credibility in the hands of an application development-centric owner such as Oracle, IBM, or even Microsoft or HP. With Cisco and its networking heritage, this is going to be a challenging marriage."
When acquisition details are complete sometime in the second quarter of Ciscos fiscal 2008, Securent, based in Mountain View, Calif., will become a part of Ciscos Collaboration Software Group.
Click here to read more about Ciscos Securent acquisition.
The placing of Securent in the Collaboration Software Group surprised Burton Group analyst Phil Schacter, who noted in a blog post Ciscos Security Technology Group includes its NAC (network access control), VPN, and network authentication product lines, which already integrate with identity infrastructure.
Cisco will have to walk a tightrope as it balances the integration of Securent into the Collaboration Software Group and maintain its service-oriented-network-architecture vision of policy as a common network service, he wrote.
"Cisco appears focused initially on leveraging this shared policy infrastructure across its unified communications and collaboration offerings," Schacter said in an interview with eWEEK.
"Its uncertain that application developers will choose to rely on Cisco-provided policy infrastructure rather than looking to strategic application infrastructure providers, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, BEA and SAP...so (the success of the acquisition is) a question of market execution and finding the right channel to represent this functionality to ISVs and application groups building SOA into their next generation applications."
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