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Server-based computing firm Citrix yesterday announced a deal to acquire SSL VPN vendor Net6 for approximately $50m cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Along with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Access Gateway the deal lets Citrix expand its portfolio with an Application Gateway and VoIP Application Suite products. "This acquisition consolidates our leadership role in the access infrastructure market, simplifies access and access security, and gives us an opportunity to tap the potential of IP voice applications on IP telephones," said Mark Templeton, president and chief executive officer for Citrix. "With Net6, we’ll be able to provide a single point of access from any device to any IT resource over an SSL secure connection, providing on-demand access to both voice and data across virtually any screen size, device type and location."

Analysts Infonetics reckons the SSL-based remote access market will exceed $600m (slightly lower than previous estimates) by 2006. The technology scores over earlier IPSec-based VPN technology by eliminating the need to install client software on worker's machines. SSL-based VPN (clientless) technology uses the security functions built into Web browsers to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying, managing, and maintaining secure access to remote users.

The SSL VPN market has become pretty crowded of late. F5 Networks, market leader Juniper Networks and Symantec have all bought into the SSL market via acquisition. Cisco Systems and Check Point Software have developed their own technology. Specialist such as Aventail, Whale Communications and other are also vying for a slice of the lucrative remote access pie. ®

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