Novell recently announced two “acquisitions”. In fact these aren’t really acquisitions in the sense of Novell buying entire companies but the result is pretty the same.

Novell, in one case, signed a perpetual source code license for Enterprise Single Sign-On with ActivIdentity. Novell’s solution SecureLogin is based on the ActivIdentity product. With the new deal, Novell not only OEMs a product but owns the source code and is able to forge the development. Thus, Novell can move faster and in exactly the direction which is relevant to Novell, for example with tighter integration into the IAM and ITSM tools of Novell or a broader Linux support. What Novell will provide there is still open – but at least Novel has now much more flexibility than before.

The second acquisition is a technology deal where Novell acquired the PAM (Privileged Account Management) product from Fortefi Ltd. That tool supports Unix/Linux root account management. The area of PAM is become more and more popular. Auditors are focusing on that area and customers have to invest.

Privileged accounts like root accounts, administrative accounts, technical users and system accounts are high risk accounts and thus have to be managed sufficiently.

With its acquisition, Novell enters this emerging market. And, from the Kuppinger Cole perspective, the acquisition makes sense as well from a strategic perspective because PAM is a part of Identity/Account lifecycle management and thus best integrated within the core Identity Management platforms.

There might follow other acquisitions in the area of PAM given that most key players in the IAM market lack that functionality today. Maybe Novell has just been the pioneer with its recent acquisition in the PAM market.

It is noteworthy that even for Novell that should be only the first step. Novell now supports the management of some privileged accounts, but not of all types of these accounts. The administrative and service accounts in Windows environments or Database administrators are still missing. But at least it is a move in the right direction.