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Oracle faces Talari SD-WAN strengths and weaknesses

With the Talari acquisition, Oracle's communications unit gets SD-WAN technology that improves VoIP reliability. But the Talari SD-WAN also lacks important enterprise features.

Oracle's acquisition of Talari Networks, a software-defined WAN developer, could strengthen the business software...

maker's communications portfolio by adding technology that prioritizes latency-sensitive applications, such as voice over IP.

Last week, Oracle announced the acquisition of Talari without disclosing financial terms. Oracle said it would make Talari part of its communications global business unit once the deal closes later this year.

Talari's competence as a technology provider lies in its Failsafe SD-WAN, which the vendor sells as a physical, virtual or cloud appliance. The product keeps sensitive application traffic on the fastest and lowest-latency link on a WAN to ensure a high quality of service, according to Gartner.

As a result, the Talari SD-WAN is particularly useful in communications, such as VoIP and unified communications as a service, Gartner said. The company's technology is used in 911 emergency operations, military communications and large international call centers.

"Talari should be shortlisted for WAN edge opportunities for global midmarket enterprises, especially when link remediation and sophisticated traffic steering are required," Gartner said in its latest Magic Quadrant report on WAN edge infrastructure.

However, Talari's technology lacks several features enterprises want, such as support for legacy T1 and E1 interfaces, public cloud resident gateways and asymmetric SaaS acceleration, Gartner said. The company also has "limited experience" supporting operations with more than 150 locations.

What Oracle could do with Talari

Oracle said it was "committed to protecting and enhancing customer investments in Talari's solutions," but did not provide details on how it would use the Talari SD-WAN. However, the company did say the technology would complement Oracle's session border controller.

An SBC is a dedicated hardware appliance or software that controls how phone calls on a VoIP network are initiated, conducted and terminated. In essence, an SBC acts as a router between a company and its carrier service.

Oracle could also build into the Talari SD-WAN technology for connecting to the Oracle Cloud, which the company pitches as the best option for running infrastructure, platform, software and data services on top of an Oracle database.

"This is an interesting acquisition -- especially if it is to drive connectivity to the Oracle Cloud or as part of an Oracle hybrid cloud -- as this would mark the first time a cloud provider bought an SD-WAN vendor," said Bob Laliberte, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), based in Milford, Mass.

While building in integration to its cloud, Oracle would also have to ensure Talari can connect to other public clouds, including those of competitors.  Otherwise, a Talari customer would have to buy a second SD-WAN for everything other than the Oracle Cloud -- an unacceptable option for many companies, Laliberte said.

ESG's 2018 IT spending study found streamlining the enterprise network was one of the top three justifications for an IT purchase. The others were storage and employee productivity.

"Best-case scenario, it would all be part of a managed service from Oracle," Laliberte said. "Worst case, it would be another SD-WAN solution to manage."

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