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F5 buys uRoam, strengthens offerings

F5 buys uRoam, strengthens offerings

F5 Networks has bought Secure Sockets Layer remote access vendor uRoam to help it offer a way to secure remote machines that are accessing corporate servers through F5 gear.

By next March, the companies will have integrated F5's Big-IP application traffic-management equipment with uRoam's Firepass SSL remote access proxies, giving customers a way to authenticate users, define what applications they are allowed to access and keep records of their activity - capabilities the F5 product lacked.

FirePass boxes can enforce policies that give users different access rights depending on what machine they are connecting from. So a corporate issued laptop might give a user broader access than a PC at an Internet café. F5 says it could have developed these capabilities, but it would have taken time and it was important to jump into this technology quickly.

By the time the two companies' products are integrated, F5 would have released a higher performance version of its hardware, boosting both its encryption speeds and key-exchange speeds, the company said.

F5 paid $US25 million for uRoam, and the deal was completed Wednesday.

URoam and vendors such as Neoteris, Aspelle, Aventail and others already offered SSL remote access gear that proxies between PCs and corporate servers, but these companies lack the speeds that F5 and other Layer 4 –7 switch makers reach.

The opportunity to broaden from SSL acceleration and load balancing into SSL remote access has not been lost on other vendors. This week, for instance, NetScaler announced it, too, is adding authentication, authorisation and auditing to its SSL equipment.

Customers can order uRoam gear from either company's sales staff.

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