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Juniper acquires Altor for virtual machine security

Juniper Networks acquired Altor Networks in a $95 million deal to sell its virtualization security technologies alongside security appliances that protect physical systems.

Juniper Networks is acquiring Altor Networks in a $95 million deal that enables Juniper to sell its line of physical security appliances alongside Altor's virtual machine security software.

The people that are buying virtualization firewalls are the same people who are buying traditional firewalls.

Pete Lindstrom
research directorSpire Security


Redwood City, Calif.-based Altor Networks was founded in 2007. It entered into the virtualization security space, using VMware's application program interfaces (APIs) in 2008 to develop a virtual security analyzer that taps into virtual switch traffic -- a layer of network traffic just above the hypervisor. The firm also launched a virtual network firewall to monitor network traffic between virtual machines.

Juniper and Altor had an existing technology partnership in place to provide enterprise technologies and services for virtualization. The deal makes sense since both vendors are essentially selling to the same IT networking professionals who have to manage both physical and virtual environments, said Pete Lindstrom, a research director at Spire Security.

"The tools have the same migration path platform by platform and that's the way the IT teams are organized as well," Lindsrom said. "Virtualization is more of a product category rather than a market because the people that are buying virtualization firewalls are the same people who are buying traditional firewalls."

In a statement, Mark Bauhaus, executive vice president and general manager of service layer technologies at Sunnyvale Calif.-based Juniper Networks Inc., said the acquisition is part of a broader effort by Juniper to extend the company's data center and cloud security products and services.

"This acquisition … will enable customers to deploy a consistent set of security services across their physical and virtual infrastructure, while delivering lowest total cost of ownership," Bauhaus said.

Juniper is also following competitor Cisco Systems Inc., which sells phyiscal and virtual firewall. Cisco also has a Virtual Security Gateway, which addresses network security by running on top of VMware's hypervisor.

Palo Alto, Calif.-basedVMware announced its VMsafe program in 2008 to address ways security vendors can extend security technologies meant for physical systems to virtualized systems. Altor has entered a crowded space, dominated by competitors with much bigger pocketbooks. Symantec Corp., McAfee Inc., EMC's RSA security division, and Check Point Software Technologies also use VMware's APIs for software that is interoperable with virtual machines.

Other vendors have had a tough time competing for business, Lindstrom said. Another start up, Montego Networks inc., ended operations this year. In addition, VMware acquired Blue Lane Technologies. Other vendors offering increased visibility and security for virtual environments include Catbird Networks Inc., and StillSecure.

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