What Does Oracle Want with Corente?

Editor’s Note: Occasionally, Enterprise Networking Planet is proud to run guest posts from authors in the field. Today, Michael Bushong of SDN vendor Plexxi offers his opinion on Oracle’s recently announced plans to acquire Corente, a privately held company specializing in WAN virtualization—essentially, bringing software defined networking to the wide area network.

Oracle’s purchases are subtle. It’s tempting to either label them as inconsequential, or to seize on the SDN moniker and make a bigger deal out of them than they are. As with everything, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

It is not likely that Oracle is going to sell networking gear. They aren’t going to buy these guys and then train up a sales force to sling networking gear the way that everyone else slings networking gear. This would require a ton of marketing effort, the development of a new kind of sales channel, and a change in their company’s selling motions. None of that would likely be successful.

What they would like to do is sell a cloud service, including everything required to turn it on. It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that they would like to own and integrate all the different elements the solution requires. Ultimately, Oracle would like to be able to control the actual cloud service experience. This starts with making that experience less dependent on physical connectivity, so buying Corente makes perfect sense.

In the fullness of time, the question will be where you draw the boundaries of application experience. Does it stop at the virtualized WAN, or not?

Cisco’s ACI infrastructure development works under much the same premise. Cisco believes that the ultimate objective is to drive application experience, and they want to guarantee that experience by managing policy across networking, compute, and storage. Again, though, where do you draw the line of experience? Certainly the applications themselves impact experience, but that doesn’t mean that Cisco plans to pivot and become an applications company. Much like Oracle, they aren’t likely to build a new business with a new channel and new selling motions. But is it that big a stretch to see them partnering with and then ultimately delivering some of the applications that they make better?

These are tectonic plates. You aren’t going to see massive change quickly. But if you pay enough attention, you can see things lining up for a dramatically different IT battle in the coming years. This battle could, in fact, involve two giants in a fight for all the dollars enterprises allocate to the new, more converged IT infrastructures of the future.

Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Mike Bushong

Michael Bushong is currently the vice president of marketing at Plexxi, where he focuses on using silicon photonics to deliver SDN-based data center options. Prior to joining Plexxi, Mike spent 12 years at Juniper Networks, where he drove Juniper’s SDN strategy, including product plans around OpenFlow, path computation element, application-layer traffic optimization and BGP traffic engineering. Prior to Juniper, Mike worked in the ASIC design tools industry.

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