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Sun buys security start-up

The company picks up i-Planet to beef up its presence in the market to provide secure connections for users across the Net.

Sun Microsystems is adding a secure remote access component to its software business.

As previously reported, the Unix-based systems giant plucked start-up i-Planet out of obscurity today to boost its presence in the market to provide secure connections for users across the Net, a technology often called virtual private networking, or VPN.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sun, which already uses i-Planet's technology internally, will implement the company's tools as part of a strategy code-named Sun.net, a reference to Sun's own internal network that allows employees to access applications securely from any device that has a Net connection.

Details of Sun's strategy for secure remote access using the i-Planet software will be released by the first quarter of next year, according to the company. Stuart Wells, senior director of network software products for Sun, said the company will likely implement the technology for different markets, such as service providers or electronic commerce.

i-Planet executives boast that their software does not include a client-side component. Instead it relies on a standard server and a small-footprint "netlet"--which can be downloaded in five to eight seconds, they claim--to secure a connection across the Net.

The start-up's 30 employees will become part of Sun.