Cisco Acquires Network Security Startup Rohati Systems

network security

Rohati President and CEO Prashant Gandhi confirmed that the acquisition happened "late last year" and that he would be staying with Cisco.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Gandhi declined to offer further details, including financial terms. Neither Rohati nor Cisco has made mention of the deal in any formal release, but various reports of the rumored acquisition have surfaced in the past day.

A Cisco spokesperson confirmed the acquisition Wednesday afternoon in an e-mailed statement that did not mention financial terms or other details:

"Cisco can confirm that it has acquired privately-held Rohati Systems, a developer of access management solutions for virtualized data centers and cloud-based networks. The employees of Rohati Systems will be joining Cisco's Nexus product team."

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Founded in 2006, Rohati entered the channel in 2008 with its flagship enterprise offering, Transaction Networking System (TNS) -- a network-based entitlement control solution that limits users' application access depending on their authentication credentials.

The TNS was created, Rohati executives told at the time, to plug "gaps" in traditional firewalls. In August 2009, Rohati expanded TNS to support virtualized servers and cloud- and software-as-a-service-based environments.

The virtualization and cloud offerings have to be attractive to Cisco, which made articulating a cloud strategy a top priority last year. Cisco also recently acquired another SaaS security specialist, ScanSafe.

The acquisition's close will also see some familiar faces returning to the networking titan. All of Rohati's top managers, including Gandhi, co-founder and Vice President of Engineering Abjihit Patra, co-founder and Vice President of Operations Anant Thakar, co-founder and Vice President, Platform & Customer Support Kirti Prabhu, and co-founder and Senior Director Nagaraj Bagepalli, previously worked in senior engineering positions at Cisco, many for stretches of nine years or longer.

Neither Gandhi nor Cisco confirmed what each's role will be at Cisco going forward, only that they will be part of Cisco's Nexus group.

Rohati continues a streak of acquisitions by Cisco that has continued largely unabated since 1993. Rohati joins Tandberg, ScanSafe, Starent Networks and DVM Holdings as companies or parts of companies that Cisco has acquired or has been in the process of acquiring since October 2009.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said throughout 2009 that Cisco would continue to acquire companies in one or more of 30 "adjacencies," or markets in which Cisco is looking to expand its presence.

For more on Cisco strategy, check out this look at 10 notable Cisco acquisitions from the past five years.