Cisco snares maker of enforcement appliances

Cisco Systems Inc. has quietly bought a maker of network-based entitlement enforcement appliances.

Last week word emerged that Cisco has purchased Rohati Systems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., for an undisclosed price.

Neither company was willing to be interviewed on the report, but a Forrester Research analyst said it’s an expected move.

“The problem with entitlement enforcement is you have to open up applications and re-develop the source code,” said Andras Csar, a senior analyst who specializes in identity and access management. Solutions often involved extra software and hardware, such as Oracle’s Entitlement Server.

Rohati’s agentless appliances work in-line and can intercept transactions to perform policy enforcement and management, Csar said.

Rohati, headed by CEO Shane Buckley, was created by a team of former Cisco staffers in 2006. It makes two models of appliances: the TNS 100, a single unit for medium sized data center environments and departmental server farms, and the TNS 500, a chassis that can hold five units for centre environments that need multi-10G application throughput with millions of connections.

In August Rohati announced its solutions can be extended to virtualized servers and off-premise cloud environments.

It claims it can provide per-transaction policy enforcement for any supported protocol based on any combination of user, resource, protocol, and network attributes

The company says the appliances are particularly suited for the financial services, healthcare, information technology services, insurance, energy and government organizations that have to meet stringent regulatory compliance mandates.

According to Csar, competitors include IBM’s WebSphere DataPower gateway line, as well as products from startup Bayshore Networks and PacketMotion Inc.

Csar added that he’s looking forward to hearing what Cisco will do with Rohati. Until now Cisco’s identity and access management strategy has been “fairly inconsistent,” he said.

He expects Rohati appliances will be integrated with the policy management software Cisco gained when it bought Securenet Inc. in 2007. Csar also said he wouldn’t be surprised if IBM reacted by integrating its DataPower appliance with its Tivoli Security Policy Manager.



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