Talari Networks announced that two banks in Minnesota have chosen its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology to help manage networks. Lake Area Bank and Roundbank will use Talari’s Thinking WAN to build more efficient networks that meet FDIC compliance standards.
Because banks must meet FDIC compliance standards for data backup and recovery, as well customer technology needs (think ATM use or video calls with loan advisors), reliable network support is necessary. Talari’s technology allows customers to use broadband Internet or MPLS to combine and secure multiple WAN links while remaining in FDIC compliance. It may also come with cost benefits. Currently, many banks look to MPLS technology for their network needs, but with new applications like voice and data driving up necessary bandwidth for many banks, MPLS gets expensive. SD-WAN technology allows customers to use Internet broadband by using software to optimize these connections.
Talari is part of a large group of startups pursuing the SD-WAN opportunity, according to a recent report from the Rayno Report, “The Future of Cloud WAN.” The report, published in January, predicts that cloud WAN, or SD-WAN, will be a multibillion opportunity as new software virtualizes existing branch-office virtual private network (VPN), WAN optimization, and application delivery controller (ADC) technology.
“A big trend is using software to lower the operating and hardware costs of delivering WAN access,” says R. Scott Raynovich, publisher of the Rayno Report. “Many of these technologies, including those supplied by Talari, leverage broadband Internet and try to make it as good — and cheaper — as MPLS.”
Donna Johnson, Talari’s director of product marketing, says the banks’ main priority is reliability. “An outage at a bank means they have to stop serving their customers at branch locations,” says Johnson. “That’s not just a loss of productivity, that’s an actual outage that affects customers.”
Johnson says the FDIC has been pushing reliability lately, so it’s going to result in an uptick in customers going for SD-WAN technology. “That means a lot to the SD-WAN space, and it shows the reliability is just as critical as security now,” says Johnson.
Talari has been shipping products since 2007 and started with a focus on traffic optimization of the WAN. More recently, Talari has been moving into service provisioning and expanding its roster of products.
SD-WAN providers are all looking for a way to set themselves apart from the pack, and a big part of doing that is their security approach. While security isn’t necessarily the main focus of SD-WAN, it doesn’t change the fact that all businesses care about security, and banks are especially security conscious.
Talari officials claim its SD-WAN method differs from other SD-WAN companies like CloudGenix or VeloCloud in a pretty obvious way. Johnson points out that with Talari technology, the network control software not in the cloud. This makes banks nervous. For banks to put anything in the cloud, they must go through a rigorous internal committee.
For that reason, Talari is pitching itself as a good solution for banks, though its solution is not a pure cloud technology. Talari’s technology is installed at the endpoints of a network and requires either Talari hardware or a virtual appliance, rather be being pure software distributed from the cloud. The network controller resides in the endpoints, rather than in the cloud.
The key functionality of Talari’s Thinking WAN is to take multiple WAN links such as MPLS circuits, cable, or other Internet broadband, and tie them together to reduce packet loss, handle seamless failover during connection operations, and optimize WAN connections using techniques such as load balancing. In this case, that appears to have met the requirements of its new banking customers.
“It makes sense that a bank would be more comfortable owning the controller technology, but the downside of is a more pure cloud SD-WAN technology will be able to see more of the network and provide more intelligent routing decisions,” says Raynovich.