Cisco Buys Virtuata for Cloud, Virtual Machine Security

The networking giant is looking to make the path to cloud computing for businesses easier and more secure.

Cisco Systems is adding to its data center and cloud portfolio by buying Virtuata, a company that specialized in virtual-machine security.

Cisco officials announced July 16 that Virtuata will be incorporated into the company€™s Data Center Group, which is headed up by Senior Vice President David Yen. No financial terms for the deal were announced.

Officials with the networking giant see a huge growth opportunity in the cloud and virtualization, as enterprises and network operators alike look to bulk up their infrastructure to leverage the rapid adoption of the cloud computing model. Cisco has been building up its data center capabilities over the past few years, not only with its networking portfolio of switches and routers, but also through its Unified Computing System (UCS) converged solution.

The UCS includes not only Cisco networking technology, but also Cisco-branded servers, storage products from EMC and NetApp and virtualization technology from VMware. The security capabilities acquired from Virtuata will increase what Cisco can offer businesses and service providers, according to Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of corporate business development at Cisco.

€œCloud and virtualization are significant disrupters in the market,€ Romanski said in a July 16 blog post. €œWhen customers move to these environments, security concerns arise where infrastructure is shared across multiple applications, business units or even organizations. As more and more business applications move to virtualized platforms, security and isolation become necessary conditions at the virtual-machine level. This acquisition is highly complementary to Cisco€™s vision of a unified data center that securely connects people and businesses with applications and data through virtual and cloud environments.€

Virtuata was not the only company working in the area of virtual machine security. Bromium, a startup that has been talked about since last year and came out of stealth mode in June, counts Simon Crosby, a former executive with Citrix Systems, and Ian Pratt as founders. Crosby and Pratt both helped create the Xen virtualization hypervisor.

Virtuata already was working with other vendors, including Citrix. Virtuata was using Citrix€™s XenClient for local desktop virtualization.

Cisco is looking to Virtuata to help ease the path for enterprises looking to get into the cloud, according to Romanski.

€œCisco and Virtuata will enable consistent and enhanced security for virtual machines allowing customers to accelerate the deployment of multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor cloud infrastructures,€ he wrote. €œThe Virtuata acquisition reinforces Cisco€™s commitment to deliver an intelligent network by providing market-leading infrastructure across the data center.

Virtuata is the fifth company Cisco has bought this year, and the fourth focused on networking and the data center. In May, Cisco announced it was buying Truviso for its real-time network data analysis and reporting capabilities, and in March said it was buying ClearAccess for better network management.

Cisco in February announced a $271 million deal for Lightwire, which made optical interconnect technology for high-speed networks.

The other acquisition was the $5 billion deal for NDS Group, a video software and content company. The move also marked Cisco€™s largest deal since the $6.9 billion it paid for set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta in 2006.