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Big Blue eats one of its little helpers

A couple of weeks back, I talked about IBM's new pact with some smaller SOA vendors that had proven themselves by having actual customers ("Big Blue's little helpers"). DataPower was an interesting case, because it provides hardware devices that sit on the network to process XML messages.

A couple of weeks back, I talked about IBM's new pact with some smaller SOA vendors that had proven themselves by having actual customers ("Big Blue's little helpers"). DataPower was an interesting case, because it provides hardware devices that sit on the network to process XML messages.

To paraphrase Remington's Victor Kiam, I guess IBM liked the DataPower devices so much that it bought the company. IBM has just announced it has acquired the Cambridge, Mass.-based, privately held provider of products that help improve security and speed the processing of computer transactions. Financial details were not disclosed. Through this acquisition, DataPower employees will become IBM employees.

IBM said it plans to introduce a family of SOA appliances based on DataPower technology. The acquisition appears to have no overlapping products, as too many often do (HP-Compaq, anyone?). DataPower is in a unique category of its own. Products include the XI50 Integration Device, which streamlines SOA infrastructures; the XA35 XML Accelerator, which offloads XML processing; and the XS40 XML Security Gateway, which helps provide message-level Web services security.

ZDNet blogger Dana Gardner also sees this acquisition as a move by IBM to head off Cisco, which has been moving toward intelligent IP business networks. Cisco has also made no secret of its intent to become the dominant vendor for data center infrastructures -- currently IBM's turf.