Ciscos Reactivity Buy Further Consolidates SOA

The company's acquisition of XML appliance maker Reactivity is the latest in a series of moves that represent continuing consolidation of the Web services and service-oriented architecture markets.

Cisco Systems move to acquire Reactivity is one more step in the continuing march toward consolidation in the Web services and service-oriented architecture market.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco on Feb. 21 announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Reactivity, of Redwood City, Calif., for $135 million. Reactivity was founded in 1998 and has 56 employees. The company provides XML gateways that enable customers to efficiently deploy, secure and accelerate XML and Web services. Reactivitys XML appliances can be found in organizations ranging from commercial enterprises to the Global 500, company officials said.

This latest acquisition is further evidence that the markets for XML, Web services, and SOA are experiencing significant consolidation, said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink. "With IBM adding Datapower to their lineup, Intel adding both Sarvega and Conformative, and F5 Networks further maturing their offerings, the addition of Reactivity to Ciscos offerings goes a long way to signaling that were in the era of incumbents increasingly dominating the space once pioneered by the startups," Schmelzer said. "Of course, there are certainly outstanding startups like Layer 7 Technologies, Forum Systems, and companies like Xambala and Tarari still making waves in the market."

Moreover, Reactivity adds robust security and policy management capabilities to the Cisco platform where it was "sorely lacking," Schmelzer added. "Indeed, it seems that the AON [Ciscos Application-Oriented Networking technology] platform movement hasnt yet resulted in as much market traction as originally supposed, and so its possible that this acquisition can give Cisco the kick in the pants it needs to effectively take advantage of a growing opportunity for management of XML and Web services traffic."

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Cisco officials said the acquisition demonstrates Ciscos commitment to the companys expanding ANS (Application Networking Services) Advanced Technology segment, which is an important part of Ciscos SONA (Service-Oriented Network Architecture) strategy and vision. Cisco ANS provides customers with shared application-aware services to improve the availability, performance and security of applications delivered from the network platform, company officials said.

"Customers continue to validate our on-going strategy of building more application services on the network platform," said Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of Ciscos Datacenter Switching and Security Technology Group, in a statement. "Reactivity together with our Application Control Engine (ACE) provides a highly capable solution for customers application delivery needs in the data center."

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