Oracle announced today that it will acquire network signalling control and policy management vendor Tekelec for an undisclosed amount. This follows on the heels of Oracle’s acquisition of Acme Packet, which fills a related and overlapping space in what one might loosely call the network intelligence domain. Keep in mind that Oracle has also been very active in SDN – software defined networking – as well.
As NetCracker’s Sanjay Mewada recently discussed, intelligence is moving out of the network and into BSS/OSS functions, like SDN and policy management. Signalling management has always been something of the glue between these layers. So, Oracle finds itself rolling up a strong position in that new intelligence arena with the Tekelec acquisition, as Tekelec is competitive in the policy management space and stout, if not dominant, in the diameter signalling control and SS7 arenas. Policy management and diameter signalling are becoming increasingly important as a result of rising trends like mobile data and cloud-based applications.
At a higher level, this still looks like a sort of Big Data play, as we said when Oracle bought Acme Packet. The release around the Tekelec deal calls subscriber data management out more specifically and it’s worth noting. In this context, don’t just think about subscriber data as the kind of account data you’d find a customer care agent scrolling through during an account review. The kind of data you draw from signaling and policy management speaks directly to how people (or machines) use devices, services, and network resources – and how they are doing so in real-time. In a sense, signaling data gives you the networks “vital signs,” to borrow a medical phrase. This data is highly valuable for a variety of uses; planning, traffic management, SLAs, QoS, billing, marketing, trends analysis, personalization, support, enterprise application and data management, and on and on . It becomes even more valuable when coupled with capabilities like predictive analytics.
That’s why I think of this as a Big Data play. The acquired companies (Tekelec and Acme Packet) may be largely telecom-specific and network-centric, but the data into which they provide visibility crosses all industries and connected devices. It seems a part of a logical evolution for Oracle from the dominant database provider to a dominant provider of actionable, analyzed business data and service intelligence across dozens of verticals.