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HPE today announced that it’s acquired Scytale, a startup providing tools that help engineers build identity-driven and large-scale distributed software, for an undisclosed sum. According to HPE fellow and general manager Dave Husak, cofounders Sunil James, Emiliano Berenbaum, and Andrew Jessup will join HPE, where they’ll develop cryptographic-identity technology that offers customers the ability to design, deploy, and achieve IT operational goals regardless of supplier or location.

“This acquisition … represents HPE’s ongoing transformation, part of which is to embrace and contribute to open source projects … Our goal is to deliver services and products that advance these developments, and provide our customers and partners with the fastest possible path to application modernization,” Husak wrote in a blog post. “It’s my pleasure to welcome this world-class team as they become part of the HPE family. The addition of Scytale’s talent, their expertise, and the power of their community will, without a doubt, accelerate our progress toward [our] goals.”

San Francisco-based Scytale — which raised $8 million in venture capital prior to the acquisition — was founded in 2017 by Jessup, Berenbaum, and James alongside a workforce hailing from cloud-native enterprises like Amazon Web Services, Duo Security, Google, Okta, PagerDuty, and Splunk. It’s recognized as the founding contributor of the Secure Production Identity Framework for Everyone (SPIFFE) and the accompanying SPIFFE Runtime Environment, as well as other open source projects to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Scytale has its beginnings in a December 2016 gathering of engineers in Los Gatos, California on zero-trust (ZT) systems. There, a whitepaper pitched SPIFFE, an open ZT standard and toolchain that makes service identity ubiquitously available.


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SPIFFE was first released in December 2017, after which the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) adopted the project. Since then, technologies such as Istio, Consul, Network Service Mesh, and more have incorporated SPIFFE, and organizations like Bloomberg, ByteDance, Huawei, Pinterest, Square, TransferWise, and Uber have committed significant resources to the project. Today, SPIFFE is used to authenticate to public clouds like Amazon Web Services, or databases like MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

“Scytale’s DNA is security, distributed systems, and open-source. Under HPE, Scytale will continue to help steward SPIFFE. Our ever-growing and vocal community will lead us,” James wrote in a press release. “We’ll toil to maintain this transparent and vendor-neutral project, which will be fundamental in HPE’s plans to deliver a dynamic, open, and secure edge-to-cloud platform.”

HPE’s latest acquisition comes after the tech giant’s purchases of Cape Networks, Cray, and Plexxi, which similarly offer solutions to tackle hybrid and multi-cloud connectivity. In June, HPE CEO Antonio Neri pledged that all of the company’s products will be available as services by 2022, including subscription-based software and on-premises infrastructure that customers rent in a pay-per-use model.

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