F5 Networks pounces on fledgling anti-DDoS startup Defense.Net

Defense.Net founder Barrett Lyon's role unclear

Less than a year on from its launch, DDoS fledgling Defense.Net has been bought by F5 Networks for an undisclosed sum.

There has been a wave of security acquisitions recently, driven by the willingness of investors to cash in at what some now believe is the current high water mark for the security wave of the last five years.

It's hard to say whether Defense.net has fallen to this trend or whether it's simply a logical next step to embed the cloud-based DDoS mitigation it offers inside a larger and better-resourced firm that already sells on-premise systems.

Defense.Net's launch pitch was also about not simply blocking DDoS attacks but doing so in a way that didn't inadvertently cripple the systems it was supposed to defending or flood them with false positives. This might be another attraction; as DDoS mitigation has commoditised, vendors have looked for something, anything, to differentiate their offering from the many others out there. Given that its technology is recent, Defense.Net can plausibly can offer some of that.

The deal is the third time Defense.net founder and CTO Barrett Lyon has been involved with acquired security firms. He founded Prolexic in 2003, although he departed before it was acquired by Akamai for $370 million in late 2013. Lyon is also on the masthead as the founder of CDN BitGravity, bought out by Tata Communications in 2011, again after he had departed.

"F5's DDoS product engineering shows a comparable focus on scale and performance to how Defense.Net has built its mitigation capability in the cloud," Lyon was quoted as saying in the official press release announcing the Defense.net deal.

"Customers of all sizes will be able to ensure that business-critical applications and networks are protected and available under the most demanding conditions regardless of the volume, type, or source of DDoS attack. Wherever it makes the most sense to stop an attack, F5 will provide the customer with the right defense," he said.

Lyon's role inside F5 Networks was not explained in the release, which possibly means it is up in the air. F5 Networks' last significant acquisition was Versafe in 2013.

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