PARIS SafeNet, a provider of private and public network security technologies based in Baltimore, MD., announced today (Feb. 28th) that it has purchased the technology assets of Raqia Networks, a Newton, Mass.-based fabless chip company which specializes in the development of SoCs and co-processors for content inspection.
The transaction involves 389,640 shares of SafeNet common stock and $805,000 in cash. For that, SafeNet said it acquires nine "highly-skilled engineers" from Raqia in addition to a majority of Raqia's technologies. SafeNet last year invested $1 million in Raqia Networks.
SafeNet acquires from Raqia a "regular expression" co-processor -- a hardware acceleration chip that looks for certain patterns of structured sequences of symbols in IP packets. It accelerate processing of a diverse scope of content inspection, including intrusion detection/prevention, firewall, XML switching, and anti-virus scanning. SafeNet also acquired Raqia-developed compiler technology.
Today, most content cnspection processing is done in software, running as applications in gateways and routers. "With the ever- increasing traffic that needs to be protected, hardware is a way to go for content protection," said Cees Jan Koomen, chairman of SafeNet Europe. "Those who already do content protection in software can only benefit from chips like this."
SafeNet sees Raqia's technology assets as "a strategic enhancement to our technology portfolio," according to Koomen. Raqia's silicon is capable of inspecting every byte of every packet header and payload, while performing rule matching across multiple packets. Further, Raqia's compiler maintains deterministic 2.5-Gigabit per second performance regardless of the number of complexity of rules, packet size or protocol.
"At SafeNet, we know VPN and IPsec protocols," said Koomen. With the addition of content inspection chips, IP packets can be transferred not only in a secure manner but also they can remain private, he said. Raqia's regular expression coprocessor accelerates Layer 2 to Layer 7 packet processing.
SafeNet will re-name Raqia's chip and start offering samples to customers in the first quarter of 2003. The chip will be fabricated by Toshiba using a 0.18 micron process technology.
SafeNet also plans to make the technology available in various forms, including silicon, intellectual property, accelerator cards, appliances and software.