Juniper Acquires Altor Networks in $95 Million Virtualization Play

Juniper spends real money as it aims to secure virtualization deployments.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Dec 6, 2010
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Juniper Networks is expanding its network security portfolio with the acquisition of privately held Altor Networks for $95 million. The cash deal is already officially closed and all Altor employees are now moving over to Juniper.

Altor is a provider of virtualization security technologies, including a virtualization firewall solution. With the acquisition, Juniper is continuing to expand the capabilities of its new network portfolio for virtualization. The Altor acquisition is the second acquisition made by Juniper in the last two months.

"By acquiring Altor, what we're really doing is extending our security footprint," Karim Toubba, vice president product marketing, service layer technologies at Juniper Networks told InternetNews.com.

Toubba noted that Juniper has been having conversations with customers about how to extend the security model to virtualization, which is what makes the Altor technology attractive. He added that enterprises have been facing challenges in securing virtual machine traffic, with limited visibility into the virtual traffic.

"Altor's VM introspection technology gives you the ability to look into and understand what applications and services, each virtual machine is running," Toubba said.

The introspection can then be tied that to an IT policy for compliance purposes. Additionally, Altor has virtualization firewall technology that lets enterprises and data centers filter traffic and enforce security policies. Lastly, the Altor solution includes compliance and reporting components for an entire enterprise or data center virtualization infrastructure.

Efforts to secure virtual machine traffic have been ongoing over the last several years with solutions from IBM, Sourcefire and VMware all in the market.

VMware has technology called vShield for virtual machine firewalling which Toubba noted was somewhat competitive to the Altor solution. That said, he also noted that Altor has some key differentiators including the introspection, policy and compliance components.

Toubba noted that for his company it is the combined integration of Altor with Juniper that will provide additional differentiation in the market.

"By combining the technologies we'll be enabling organizations to have a single place to manage security policy across their entire infrastructure and bridge the gap between the physical and virtual world," Toubba said.

As to where the Altor firewall technology will actually fit into the Juniper portfolio, Toubba noted that detailed roadmaps are not being publicly provided at this time. Juniper's primary operating system is its JUNOS OS which powers most of the company's networking hardware.

"Clearly we do have a very detailed roadmap that we'll be discussing in the next several quarters about what the integration points look like," Toubba said. "Obviously the integration points will be across a variety of JUNOS capabilities."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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