Archive for October, 2008

Identity Engines goes under

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I recently saw an article on Network World: Identity Engines goes under. They had a nice product (in some ways), but there were a number of things I didn't understand about what they were doing.

  1. They wrote their own RADIUS server.

    Huh? It's 2008. There are many RADIUS servers that they could download for free off of the net. Some are BSD licensed. Others (ahem) like FreeRADIUS are GPL'd. Isn't it always good shareholder value to build on top of what other people have done, like using Linux, Apache, MySQL, etc. This is cheaper, faster, and more reliable than re-inventing the wheel. Again.

  2. Their business model.

    It was based on selling "high availability" RADIUS servers to enterprises. I've been in the space for over a decade, and I know how many RADIUS servers are needed in a typical enterprise: 2 to 10. Even if they captured 100% of that market, they would likely sell only a few thousand boxes. And they didn't even do that.

  3. The value it has for their customers.

    To quote the Network World article, their product:

    ... features a number of APIs to tie easily into a range of backend lookup and authentication services. A policy management engine centralizes policy creation and distribution, and other features enforce policies on users, including mobile or remote users...

    Isn't that what all RADIUS servers do? FreeRADIUS has been doing exactly that for almost a decade. And, it's more flexible and more scalable (to say nothing of cheaper) than commercial "box" solutions.

So on one hand it's sad to see them go under. They had a relatively good product that solved some customer needs. But there wasn't enough business to keep a company running.

On top of that, they went through $26 million in VC investment. Hmm... FreeRADIUS became the number one RADIUS server on the planet with zero funding. Just imagine what we could do with a paltry $26 million!

To everyone who had bought a server from ID Engines, please consider switching to FreeRADIUS. We even started a company to do support and development. Multiple Fortune-50 companies already use our solution. We think you should, too.