Novell Nabs Immunix To Beef Up Linux Security

Novell yesterday announced it has acquired Immunix and its AppAmror software, a host-based security application designed for Linux. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AppArmor is used to protect both the Linux operating system and applications from external or internal attacks, viruses, and malicious applications. Novell is making AppArmor available with SuSe Linux Enterprise Server 9.

“Businesses understand attacks on their mission-critical applications can hit their bottom line unexpectedly and with grave results,” said Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman. “Only Novell AppArmor provides an enterprise-class security system for Linux that is easy to implement, deploy and maintain. Novell customers will sleep better at night knowing their applications are protected.”

Proactive Linux Security

Novell said AppArmor’s proactive security reduces the need for urgent, reactive patching by stopping attacks before they can impact the system, allowing patching to become a scheduled maintenance activity, not an emergency.

AppArmor offers a set of predefined security policies for popular applications such as Web, e-mail and remote login, as well as wizards designed to streamline the creation and deployment of custom security policies.

Built-in reporting and alert features help IT professionals ensure compliance with security regulations offer instant notifications when intrusions do occur.

The Big Picture

IDC Research Director Al Gillen told LinuxInsider that security through application containment has emerged as a favored way to protect applications from compromise and to protect applications from one another.

“The acquisition of Immunix is a complementary addition to Novell’s Linux portfolio, and ties directly into Novell’s focus on bringing SuSE Linux Enterprise Server up-market to datacenter customers,” he said. “It’s our expectation that Novell is going to make a series of focused and specific acquisitions as it continues to complete its Linux strategy.”

While Gillen won’t predict Novell’s next buy, he is certain the coming acquisitions are not as much about gaining market share as about increasing the versatility of its product.

M&A Madness

Speaking of market share, technology companies seem to be back on the acquisition bandwagon lately. IBM recently announced a string of acquisitions. Sun Microsystems is acquiring Tarantella, and Trend Micro is acquiring InterMute. Are we headed for M&A madness once again?

Gillen said recent mergers and acquisitions signify the evolution of the open-source market, which has seen numerous startups with interesting technologies emerging over the past few years. Larger vendors are looking at how these technologies may fit into their portfolio as they expand their Linux strategies.

“There is a laundry list of startups and VC-backed companies in spaces like clustering and virtualization software that would make interesting acquisitions for any of the Linux-oriented companies,” Gillen said. “This is an evolution that’s fairly predictable.”

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