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Novell Acquires e-Security

Novell beefed up its growing security portfolio by acquiring e-Security and its real-time security and compliance monitoring platform.

Novell beefed up its growing security portfolio by acquiring e-Security and its realtime security and compliance monitoring platform.

Plans call for Novell, which unveiled the $72 million deal on Wednesday, to ship e-Security's Sentinel 5 in May and then offer a combined Novell-branded solution this summer.

Sentinel provides realtime event monitoring, response and reporting capabilities and gives customers and partners one view of security and compliance activities. The goal is to build an integrated management platform over the long term, according to Novell.

"It makes Novell a pioneer in providing a single view of security and compliance," said Novell Chairman and CEO Jack Messman, adding that the platform will allow the Waltham, Mass.-based software vendor’s customers and partners to track and audit user, network and application events across the enterprise. "It helps customers respond to changing requirements,” he said.

Using Sentinel with Novell's identity management and systems management platform, for example, will enable customers to adhere to government regulations such Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II and HIPAA, Novell said.

Novell Audit offers reporting capabilities but lacks the realtime event-monitoring and compliance-assurance capabilities. Messman said Novell sees a growing convergence between identity management and security.

Industry observers said the e-Security acquisition will give Novell VARs and service providers a realtime security offering and a platform for providing managed services.

Sentinel and other security information manager products such as Preventsys aren’t for protection but for tracking log files of devices and applications on the network, aggregating the events into one place and performing policy analysis on the data, said Ross Brown, COO of eEye Digital Security.

"This market has been ripe for acquisition and rollup for some time, but I would have thought it would be guys like CA and BMC buying here, not Novell. The play with the identity management aspect is interesting," Brown said. "For Novell's channel, the Sentinel product is a good backbone product for providing monitoring services as an MSP, as well as another tool to build out solutions."

Novell expects to reap $20 million in revenue from Sentinel over the next 12 months. Novell offers a leading Linux distribution and has been pushing harder into the management software space amid the success of its ZenWorks platform and Identity Manager.

Novell declined to comment on whether the Sentinel platform will be used to build a managed services platform like that of Linux rival Red Hat, which offers the Red Hat Network.

Still, John Dragoon, chief marketing officer at Novell, said the deal is good for the channel. "We intend to package this for the channel to take directly to their clients, both as solution provider and for additional services opportunities," he said.

Sentinel will allow MSPs to add event monitoring to their services. Novell will offer different packaging and pricing options to channel partners for Sentinel and Identity Manager 3.

Sentinel works across multiple platforms and bolsters Novell's management play in the Linux arena against Red Hat Network, observers noted. "We expect to bring these up the stack services to mixed-source environments," Messman said.

Vienna, Va.-based e-Security, a privately held company with 80 employees, has operated a direct model and has relationships with large systems integrators such as Hewlett-Packard and Price Waterhouse. E-Security has an indirect channel model overseas.

Novell will continue to acquire security companies where it makes sense, according to Messman. "There are gaps, and we're looking at those gaps," he said.

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