Today, a new data center appliance launches from San Jose, Calif. startup Rohati Systems. The appliance monitors the flow of traffic in the network and uses information gleaned from the data packets to enforce various entitlement and authorization limits for a company, such as allowing only certain employees to access HR data or others to get a hold of financial information.
There are other ways to attack this problem, such as ensuring compliance for each one of hundreds of programs, but Rohati does it more efficiently, and according to CEO Shane Buckley, without adding a lot of lag time. Since this type of compliance is a big deal in a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, Rohati’s appliance could find a place in the corporate data center, competing against the likes of Securent, Bayshore Networks and Jericho Systems.
The idea is solid, but I doubt the company’s potential for a rich exit. Rohati is selling something typically done via software, and the big IT vendors such as HP and IBM are more inclined to buy software, not hardware, companies. Which means that should a bigger player decide to enter this space, there are plenty of other candidates for them to buy besides Rohati.
Rohati might interest a hardware vendor such as Cisco, but that’s the company the Rohati founders left — in part, because Cisco was spending time solving similar problems with software. There are other potential buyers out there, and it’s possible Rohati makes it all the way to public markets, but I still question how well a box-maker can do in this day and age.