Oracle has snapped up two companies: Thor Technologies, a provider of a cross-platform provisioning products, and OctetString, a developer of virtual directory software.

The company said that adding software from Thor and OctetString into its Identity Management suite, would offer users access control, identity administration, identity federation, user provisioning directory services and web services management. Oracle claimed that customers would reduce administration costs, speed up deployment cycles and improve security by using its identity management strategy.

Identity and access management is growing increasingly important to enterprises, especially as more people are working remotely, said David Bradshaw, an analyst at Ovum. He said Oracle wasn't particularly weak in the identity-management market but that "clearly they want to extend their portfolio and customer base" with these acquisitions.

By the end of the year, Oracle plans to offer Oracle Xellerate Identity Provisioning, a product based on Thor Xellerate that offers enterprises user access rights management and is designed to enhance security, improve regulatory compliance and improve business responsiveness.

Oracle also plans to start selling Oracle Virtual Directory, software based on OctetString's Virtual Directory Engine, by the end of the year. The software allows users to easily connect applications to multiple sources of user identities within the enterprise.

Oracle did not disclose the cost of the acquisitions.

The deals are a continuation of an Oracle buying spree. "It's clear that Oracle is firmly on the acquisitions path," Bradshaw said. Most onlookers, however, Bradshaw included, say they'd be surprised to see Oracle make another very large purchase since the company scooped up Siebel Systems in September.