Oracle picks up two ID management firms

Oracle execs today announced the purchase of two identity management firms, which they say will help the company build a 'hot pluggable' software suite that works well with rival applications.

Oracle's acquisition spree continued today with the announcement that the company has purchased two privately held identity (ID) management firms for an undisclosed sum.

Oracle said the acquisitions of Thor Technologies and OctetString will help it to compete against rivals such as Computer Associates International Inc., IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. in the market for ID management security software.

The move also marks the second significant event in 2005 through which the database giant has made inroads in ID management.

In March, Oracle purchased security software maker Oblix Inc. Just three months later Oracle had integrated Oblix technology into the latest version of its Oracle Identity Management suite. ID management software helps ensure that only authorized users have access to systems and databases.

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During a conference call Wednesday morning, Hasan Rizvi, vice president of identity management for Oracle, said the acquisitions would also give Oracle a leg up on industry rival SAP AG.

"[OctetString] allows our identity management products to have the capability to provide integration with SAP applications," Rizvi said. "Thor also has an existing deployment with SAP."

Rizvi reiterated Oracle's plan to distinguish itself from rivals like SAP, saying that Oracle's ID management products are much more closely integrated with the applications themselves. Integration is a key term at Oracle these days, as the company tries to move forward with Project Fusion, an initiative designed to bring together systems acquired from several companies into one "best of" software platform.

In the past two years, the two approaches taken by Oracle and SAP have differed greatly in their execution. Oracle has taken an aggressive buy-the-competition approach, whereas SAP has taken what it calls an "organic" approach, growing through internal development and small strategic acquisitions.

Rizvi said Thor's software will make it easier for customers to remove access accounts of fired employees, promoted employees or employees with changing roles, who might pose a security risk. He described OctetString's technology as something that would make it easier to install these security systems.

Today's deals are the latest in a long string of acquisitions for Oracle, which over the course of the last two years has spent approximately $19 billion buying up rivals.

Notable acquisitions in recent memory include PeopleSoft Inc. and J.D. Edwards & Co. Oracle is also currently in the process of closing a $5.85 billion buy of customer relationship management (CRM) software market leader Siebel Systems Inc.

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