One of these days, Oracle might make a real “SDN” acquisition.
Tuesday wasn’t necessarily that day. Oracle announced that it’s buying Corente, a WAN virtualization startup with Bell Labs in its genes and BT Group on its customer list. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Though touted as a software-defined networking deal, New Jersey-based Corente doesn’t quite seem to fit a proper SDN definition. But at least it’s closer than Xsigo, the virtualization company that Oracle declared as an SDN company when it acquired the startup in 2012. (Xsigo lets servers handle both networking and storage duties by making the I/O handle multiple protocols.)
Corente does a different kind of virtualization. Its Cloud Services Exchange lets a distributed application connect to any location through any IP network, creating what Oracle describes as a private network between the two. For endpoints, Corente provides virtual appliances called Corente Services Gateways.
So, Corente does claim to offer the quick provisioning and self-service network creation that many SDN products boast about. Whether it does this by truly separating forwarding intelligence from the control plane — a staple concept for SDN — isn’t so clear.
“What Corente seems to do is more akin to providing a VPN for the cloud,” writes analyst Brad Casemore of IDC in an email to SDNCentral. In that sense, Oracle could head in the direction of providing “cloud-VPN services as an infrastructure wrapper for its applications,” he speculates.
Oracle officials aren’t giving out any information beyond what’s on the web site, so we’ll have to wait to hear how Corente might fit into a broader SDN strategy for Oracle. What we do know is that Oracle has been taking an interest in the WAN, having also acquired Acme Packet and Tekelec in 2013.
As for Corente itself, the company’s executives have quite a lot of AT&T and Bell Labs on their resumes. Sam Bendinelli, senior vice president of engineering and operations, came out of Lucent Technologies to help found Corente in 2007. CTO Ron Hiller also worked at Bell Labs, as did CEO Jim Zucco, who (ancient history alert) was the turnaround CEO who sold Shiva to Intel in 1998.
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