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Oblix Inc., maker of enterprise identity management and Web access control solutions, has all but acquired Confluent Software Inc., a maker of Web services management solutions, eWEEK has learned.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Oblix has agreed to acquire Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Confluent for an undisclosed sum, said sources close to the deal. And Ken Sims, vice president at Oblix, acknowledged the deal in an interview with eWEEK that included both Oblix and Confluent personnel.

“We have signed a binding agreement to acquire Confluent,” Sims said. “It’s a really important move for us.”

According to analysts, the move gives Oblix ownership of two of the key building blocks for service-oriented architectures (SOA).

Rick Caccia, director of product marketing at Oblix, said that Oblix has excelled at supplying identity management solutions. But, he added, in the Web services world, as people move to service-oriented architectures, they need more.

“The natural first step is a portal and then an identification and access infrastructure,” Caccia said. “Now, with Web services and service-oriented architectures, there’s a need to manage users as well as to manage things system-to-system.” The combined forces of Oblix and Confluent represent “a single platform with a decentralized view of applications and systems,” he said.

Paola Lubet, vice president of Confluent, said the company’s technology add rules to manage various roles and provides the ability to view what is happening with users and with applications.

Lubet said Oblix was not the only suitor attracted to Confluent. Many analysts predicted that startups in the Web services management space would be acquired by larger companies.

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