Another week on the acquisition rollercoaster

Opinion by Dan Raywood

The announcement of the acquisition of ArcSight by HP this week marked a new stage in the buying frenzy of technology brands.

The announcement of the acquisition of ArcSight by HP this week marked a new stage in the buying frenzy of technology brands.

A definitive agreement was signed at the start of the week for the $1.5 billion (£972 million) deal, which will see HP move into the log management and SIEM (security information and event management) arena.

Asked by SC Magazine if any further details could be revealed about the plans for ArcSight, its VP of product marketing Rick Caccia said simply that nothing was known as ‘it is so early in the deal that we haven't heard anything'.

Fellow log management company LogLogic saw the move as a positive thing. Talking to SC Magazine, CEO Guy Churchward said that with HP acting as a supermarket, it leaves LogLogic as the leading independent player.

He said: “The amount of aggression that they (HP) have had around ArcSight and 3Par, I am surprised that a company the size of HP could consume two companies in one go.

“I spent time in the city and a lot of our accounts are ArcSight accounts as well, in other words we do the log management out to their SIEM, so we have a cooperative. What we are seeing is a lot of the reason the clients were buying ArcSight in the beginning was because it is a great product, having an independent decision is good and they execute against it.

“I think for the last few years they have sort of lost their way. I think the acquisition makes sense to help them move further, but I am hoping that they leave them somewhat independent.

“I do like it because it does validate the marketplace which is good, and it does leave us as the largest man standing as an independent because people who buy an HP or an IBM it is a religious decision, in other words you choose to work with a company who is one of the ‘megastores' – you can buy from the local butchers or you can buy from an Asda. So if they like the local stores it means that others will get picked up.

“The good news is HP is paying a lot of money for ArcSight so you cannot screw up a deal like that, that is not one you want to write off.”

Security blogger Anton Chuvakin called the acquisition ‘The end of an era' with the ‘last independent software SIEM [worth buying] is bought'. In an analysis, he said the lessons learned were ‘to do something better than everybody else and you can win big, even if you start late, focusing on a good user interface usable by your target audience as early as possible.'

He said: “The appliance SIEM battle was, until now, a sideshow to the SIEM ‘classic' battle in my honest opinion. Yes, despite the volume of appliance sales, distributed software SIEM was still seen by many as ‘the real thing' and appliance SIEM was seen as ‘maybe for SMBs?' Now appliance SIEM guys get to fight the main war.”

Asking what the fate is of the appliance SIEM (express) and log management appliances (Logger), he said: “Well, the answer lies deep inside HP, but my guess is that they will not fare better than they fare now. HP ‘the home of OpenView' will probably like big messy software more than the boxes.”

Amrit Williams, CTO of BigFix, said that he was surprised that ArcSight had not been picked up earlier. He said: “There were rumours long ago that they were looking to get bought and whether they are true, I don't know.”

BigFix was the subject of a recent acquisition when it was bought by IBM in July. Speaking to SC Magazine this week, Williams confirmed that the acquisition was done by the Tivoli side of IBM's business, and that BigFix will become part of the desktop management and process automation gap for Tivoli.

However he said he could not ‘confirm or deny' the figure paid for the security and compliance management firm, with Bloomberg estimating a figure of $400 million.

He said: “IBM said that they wanted to implement BigFix into their product lines and add integration into its ISS product line. Also we have an OEM agreement with Trend Micro and IBM does not have an anti-virus solution so they are keen on improving the relationships further. Been equally impressed with how it has been handled.”

In other acquisition news, this week saw the first announcement from Guardium since its acquisition by IBM, although Phil Neray, VP of security product strategy and marketing at Guardium, told SC Magazine that this particular technology had been in development for two years before the IBM deal.

Also, Intel's recent buy McAfee completed the acquisition of tenCube, the provider of the WaveSecure mobile security service. Dave DeWalt, president and CEO of McAfee, confirmed that it will become part of its smartphone technology, developed from the Trust Digital deal.

DeWalt said: “The WaveSecure security service for consumers allows users to remotely control their devices, manage the data on their phones, ensure privacy in the event of device theft or loss and enhance the possibility of recovering the phone. McAfee also plans to offer a child locator service, using the unique technology from WaveSecure.

“I'm excited to say that McAfee will now have a single platform, from the consumer to the enterprise, to address the management and security of all devices types, to all markets and with the most robust feature set.”

Unsurprisingly there was no news on the Intel deal or McAfee's future plans, watch this space I guess.

As Churchward said, the deal with ArcSight and IBM does validate the market, and the moves by the larger software firms could be seen as a major substantiating movement for the security industry.

On the other hand, there is the fact that ‘smaller' vendors cease to exist and for those who have an aversion to the larger firms, leaves a harder choice to make.


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