Citrix Picks Up Teros

Makes latest M&A foray, buying firewall vendor Teros for an undisclosed fee

November 16, 2005

3 Min Read
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Citrix Systems Inc., maker of widely used application access software, has snapped up firewall vendor Teros for an undisclosed fee in an attempt to boost its application security story. (See Citrix Acquires Teros.)

The deal comes hot on the heels of Citrixs $300 million acquisition of traffic management specialist NetScaler earlier this year. Teros also joins SSL VPN/VOIP gateway vendor Net6 as part of the Citrix product family. (See Citrix to Buy NetScaler for $300M, Citrix Buys NetScaler and Citrix Buys SSL Vendor Net6.)

Teros customer Eric Beasley, senior network administrator at business process specialist Baker Hill, thinks the latest deal spells good news for users. “It makes sense to me,” he says. “I think that you’re starting to see a convergence in the market in terms of the different applications that run on a gateway.”

Specifically, Beasley is keen to see NetScaler’s load balancing technology integrated with the Teros firewall. “Some of the things that NetScaler is doing, I would like to see Teros go on top of that."

According to Citrix’s roadmap, Beasley should get his wish -- even though the timeline isn't nailed down. In a prepared statement released this morning, Citrix says it will now sell and support the Teros product line, which will be re-branded as the Citrix NetScaler Application Firewall. And while it will continue to sell the products as standalone offerings, Citrix intends to offer the Teros technology as a software module for the Citrix NetScaler application delivery system in 2006.That's a pretty open-ended plan, but at least Citrix is committing to the integration. Increasingly, users like Beasley are looking to consolidate the number of devices they use in their data centers -- hence vendors’ efforts to offer all-in-one combos that can do a number of different things.

For his part, Beasley says he currently uses technology from F5 Networks for load balancing, although he may reconsider this post acquisition. “If load balancing were to be included in that Teros appliance, we would look to remove F5 from our environment,” he says.

Teros is one of a number of startups, including NetContinuum and Imperva, that specialize in protecting applications by checking TCP sessions before they reach the application. This technique is important because many applications were written before current security threats emerged, making them particularly vulnerable to attack from hackers. In a worst-case scenario, weak spots could open firms up to identity theft or the loss of complete datasets.

For some time, there has been speculation that these firms are ripe for acquisition, and there has already been some activity in the space. (See App Security Could Help Firewalls.) Earlier this year, for example, F5 snapped up the assets and intellectual property of Watchfire Corp.’s AppShield Web application security firewall. This followed last year’s acquisition of another application security specialist, MagniFire Websystems. (See F5 Acquires MagniFire.)

For its part, F5 has already made moves to integrate its technologies. For example, the vendor recently combined its application firewall, TrafficShield, with its BIG-IP load balancer. (See F5 Unveils BIG-IP .) Erik Giesa, F5’s vice president of product management, tells Byte and Switch that using F5’s underlying TMOS architecture, work is also underway to integrate its SSL VPN offerings and the wide-area network (WAN) optimization products it acquired when it bought Swan Labs earlier this year. (See F5 Completes Swan Buy and F5 Snaps Up Swan Labs.)Initially, all of Teros’s 50 employees will be going over to Citrix. In this morning’s statement, Citrix said that the “Teros team” will be added to Citrix’s San Jose, Calif.-based Application Networking Group.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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