Oracle buys ID, access-management companies

Oracle on Wednesday said it acquired Thor Technologies, a provider of a cross-platform provisioning products, and OctetString, a developer of virtual directory software. Oracle said the deals would strengthen its portfolio of identity and access management products.

Adding software from Thor and OctetString into Oracle's Identity Management suite, Oracle will offer users access control, identity administration, identity federation, user provisioning directory services and Web services management. Oracle said that customers will reduce administration costs, speed up deployment cycles and improve security by using its identity management strategy.

Identity and access management is growing increasingly important to enterprises, especially as more people are working remotely, said David Bradshaw, an analyst at Ovum. He said Oracle wasn't particularly weak in the identity-management market but that "clearly they want to extend their portfolio and customer base" with these acquisitions.

With these acquisitions, Oracle's identity management suite is complete, Oracle's Fusion middleware head, Thomas Kurian, said on a conference call with press. The company is not currently considering any further acquisitions in the area, he said.

Kurian cited stricter regulatory requirements like those mandated by the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act as driving increased customer spending on compliance software, which in turn has pushed Oracle to build out its offerings. "The evolving compliance requirements are dictating the investments in identity management," he said.

By the end of the year, Oracle plans to begin selling Oracle Xellerate Identity Provisioning, a product based on Thor Xellerate that offers enterprises user access rights management and is designed to enhance security, improve regulatory compliance and improve business responsiveness.

Oracle also plans to start selling Oracle Virtual Directory, software based on OctetString's Virtual Directory Engine, by the end of the year. The software allows users to easily connect applications to multiple sources of user identities within the enterprise.

Oracle did not disclose the cost of the acquisitions. All of the sales and development employees at Thor and OctetString have joined Oracle, Kurian said.

The deals are a continuation of an Oracle buying spree. "It's clear that Oracle is firmly on the acquisitions path," Bradshaw said. Most onlookers, however, Bradshaw included, say they'd be surprised to see Oracle make another very large purchase since the company scooped up Siebel Systems in September.

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