Latest Cisco Acquisition Targets VM Security

No financial terms were provided, but Virtuata's team will become part of Cisco's Data Center Group, reporting up to Cisco Senior Vice President David Yen.

"Cloud and virtualization are significant disrupters in the market," wrote Hilton Romanski, vice president and head of corporate development at Cisco, in a Monday post to Cisco's Platform blog. "When customers move to these environments, security concerns arise where infrastructure is shared across multiple applications, business units or even organizations."

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Romanski described the acquisition as "highly complementary" to Cisco's unified data center concept.

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Milpitas, Calif.-based Virtuata was founded in 2010. Its executive team comprises networking industry veterans including CEO Joe Epstein, a co-founder of virtualized wireless specialist Meru Networks, and Chief Strategy Officer Peter Danzig, whose past C- and SVP-level roles include Wirama, Akamai, NetCache and Internet Middleware Corp.

Virtualization security is a hot market flush with startups, from Bromium, the company founded by Xen hypervisor co-creators and ex-Citrix executives Ian Pratt and Simon Crosby, to PrivateCore, which announced $2.25 million in seed funding in June, and vArmour, a network virtualization security startup founded by former NetScreen executives. Bigger networking vendors are also investing in the space, including Juniper's December 2010 acquisition of Altor Networks.

Cisco, for its part, has returned to its more traditionally aggressive pace of acquisitions following a slowdown in M&A activity during its corporate restructuring last year. Among Cisco's 2012 completed or intended acquisitions are Lightwire, the NDS Group, ClearAccess and Truviso.