Blue Coat Systems has continued its ongoing act of reinvention with the announcement that it is to acquire 'big data' security vendor Solera Networks. The company will also buy part of the small but innovative high-speed flow processing vendor Netronome.

The term of the deals have not been disclosed but are part of a strategy to broaden Blue Coat’s product base whilst turning it into an open security platform bulked by third-party development.

It has a job on its hands but the Intel-backed Solera Networks is an interesting new chapter because what it does is undoubtedly a hot are of security defence - visibility.

Solera Networks’ DeepSee system is designed to chomp through huge amounts of data, spotting the patterns that mark out complex, layered and multi-factor attacks such as advanced persistent threats.

What it claims to spit out at the end is ‘risk intelligence,’ a sort of who, what, when and how for attacks, or at least that’s the hard sell.

“The future of the industry is moving beyond just blocking malware and stopping targeted attacks to also identifying and resolving the full scope of the attacks in real time,” said Blue Coat System’s CEO, Greg Clark.

“Retrospective capture and analytics are now an essential component of modern security architecture, and Solera has pioneered this field, creating a DVR for the network that records traffic and allows customers to easily mine that information.”

The “DVR” in this remark is a reference to Solera’s characterisation of its technology as a sort of Tivo for networks, all seeing, recording everything.

As for Netronome, Blue Coat is purchasing its SSL Inspector appliances, allowing it to peer inside encrypted traffic without turning that inspection into a blockage.

Blue Coat reckons a third of network traffic is now encrypted not least that used by criminals to sneak stolen data out of targets.

There is more going on here than a once-foundering vendor buying some baubles to burnish its story. The firm appears to believe it can become less a vendor selling security and traffic management products, more an all-purpose solution to “enable” everything.

Blue Coat, remember, was taken private last year by private equity house Thoma Bravo in a $1.3 billion (£830 million) cash deal that took its previously sluggish performance behind closed doors when the management has endeavoured to fix things.

Inside the company, the middle management talk is still of ‘changing the mindset’. “We don’t have an objection to working with other vendors,” a UK representative told Techworld.

Probably the firm’s most its most famous acquisition to date was that of Packeteer in 2008. More recently. in late 2012, the company acquired Thoma Bravo's other buy, Crossbeam Systems.

*This story was updated to make clear that Netronome remains an independent entity.

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