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Cisco, HPE plug holes in cloud security portfolios

Hewlett Packard Enterprise also unveiled plans to acquire Athonet, an Italian company that provides cellular technology for private 4G and 5G networks.

Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently made acquisitions to fill gaps in their cloud-based security portfolios. HPE also chose to purchase a small company to offer private 5G for low-latency applications running on the edge.

By the end of April, Cisco plans to acquire Silicon Valley-based Valtix to provide network security across the largest cloud providers. Valtix's control plane sits on top of the data plane to enforce network policies across its web application firewalls and data loss prevention technologies.

Cisco, a Valtix investor since 2020, did not release financial details.

HPE plans to acquire Axis Security and offer its security service edge technology as an option for the HPE Aruba software-defined WAN. The goal is to provide zero-trust security controls to devices in campuses, branch offices and workers' home offices.

Axis Security, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, provides a cloud-native platform that authenticates people accessing applications at the network edge. It also provides a secure web gateway for accessing the internet and a cloud access security broker to secure access to SaaS applications.

HPE plans to complete the transaction during its third fiscal quarter, which ends in July. The company did not release financial details.

"Both the Cisco Valtix acquisition and the HPE Axis Security deal follow the strong trend toward zero-trust security solutions, which can secure cloud-based workloads and applications, regardless of the physical infrastructure they use," said R. Scott Raynovich, an analyst at research firm Futuriom.

Private 5G network architecture
A private 5G network design.

HPE acquires 5G provider

A week before the Axis acquisition, HPE unveiled plans to acquire Athonet, an Italian company that provides cellular technology for private 4G and 5G networks. Athonet has 450 customers, including hospitals, airports, utilities and government agencies, according to HPE.

HPE plans to offer Athonet's mobile core as part of its Aruba networking portfolio. A mobile core is a 5G core service-based architecture for fixed wireless, wireline and Wi-Fi networks, according to research firm Dell'Oro Group.

Companies deploying Wi-Fi and private 5G would use different access points feeding into the same network, said Aruba General Manager Phil Mottram. Companies would manage the network using HPE's cloud-based Aruba Central management console. Mottram declined to say when that Central version would be available.

"I think it'll happen relatively quickly," he said. "But until people go through the absolute details on it, I don't want to call [the release date]."

HPE expects to close the deal early in the third fiscal quarter, which begins in May. The company declined to provide financial details.

Late last month Cisco reported that it would join NTT, an IT infrastructure and services company, in offering enterprise technology and managed services to deploy private 5G networks for edge computing. The companies' collaboration targets the automotive, logistics, healthcare, retail and public sectors.

Raynovich said he believes companies will increasingly tie the edge to public clouds, processing data on whichever platform provides the most value.

"We believe that hybrid architectures will be the driver of the edge," he said.

Since 2019, the edge computing market has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%. It will reach $250.6 billion globally next year, according to IDC. The United States and Western Europe account for most of the edge spending.

Antone Gonsalves is networking news director for TechTarget Editorial. He has deep and wide experience in tech journalism. Since the mid-1990s, he has worked for UBM's InformationWeek, TechWeb and Computer Reseller News. He has also written for Ziff Davis' PC Week, IDG's CSOonline and IBTMedia's CruxialCIO, and rounded all of that out by covering startups for Bloomberg News. He started his journalism career at United Press International, working as a reporter and editor in California, Texas, Kansas and Florida. Have a news tip? Please drop him an email.

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