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Why did Oracle acquire an SD-WAN firm?

News Analysis
Nov 21, 20183 mins

Oracle has a significant communications software business, and it’s betting that Talari’s SD-WAN technology will ensure performance and reliability of communications over any network.

oracle cloud on building
Credit: Stephen Lawson

Every now and then, the industry gets hit with a “huh?” acquisition, like Facebook buying virtual reality headset maker Oculus or chipmaker Broadcom acquiring mainframe software vendor CA.

Last week’s news from Oracle was also up there, with the announcement it plans to acquire Talari Networks, a software-defined networking (SDN) specialist, by the end of the year.

It would seem an odd pairing, but Oracle has a considerable communications software business of mostly brokers, controllers, and monitors. In announcing the deal, the company said Talari would complement Oracle’s Session Border Controller (SBC) and network management infrastructure by adding high availability, Quality-of-Experience (QoE) connectivity, and cloud application access across any IP network with the reliability and predictability of private networks.

“Together, Oracle, and Talari will accelerate digital transformation and cloud adoption by providing companies with complete enterprise network solutions that ensure reliability and performance of real-time communications and mission-critical applications over any network,” Oracle said in a statement.

Talari’s software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) technology monitors the state of all available networks and redirects traffic to an optimal network. The approach is designed to boost bandwidth and availability for cloud workloads and real-time applications.

Talari claims its SD-WAN software delivers a multi-link WAN with 50 to 400 times more bandwidth per dollar and reduces costs of WAN operations from 40 to 80 percent.

SD-WAN is taking off in popularity as the cloud becomes more important for its intelligent routing and for its cloud-ready design. The old method of network communications for apps, called MPLS, was never designed to go out of the data center. Data is transmitted unencrypted. SD-WAN has end-to-end encryption, vital for hybrid computing.

There is also likely a second reason for the acquisition, and that is SDN is a key piece of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). It’s vital for centralized control over switches to provide full automation of routing of data, making it important for the convergence of compute, storage, and networking.

Adding in SDN to Oracle’s HCI appliances would go a long way to make them more suitable for a hybrid cloud environment, one where on-premises systems talk to cloud systems, and Oracle is spending big bucks to expand its cloud offerings and build more data centers.

Of course, that would also mean a commitment to its on-premises hardware, and Oracle has been rather quiet in that department as of late. But if it remains committed to the hardware business, then this acquisition would do wonders to bolster the appeal of its appliances.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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