From The Expert Feature Article
February 07, 2013

How Cloudy Will Oracle Get with its (Pending) Acme Packet Acquisition?

Everyone wants to get into cloud services these days. Could Oracle's purchase of Acme Packet (News - Alert) lead to its Session Border Controller (SBC) appearing in the cloud as a managed service?

Oracle certainly has all the pieces necessary to deliver a telecom services cloud. The company already has its "Oracle (News - Alert) Cloud" portfolio, offering application services, social media management services, Java and database, storage, messaging, and the ability to offer a private cloud and managed cloud services.  

On the SBC side, Acme Packet has made it clear that its software can be run anywhere from dedicated hardware to a virtual instance on a server alongside other processes. 

A cloud-based SBC offering might prove particularly appealing for enterprise customers already contemplating a migration from a dedicated PBX (News - Alert)/IP PBX with all of its hardware, capital expense and overhead to a cloud solution. 

Oracle also has a "Communications Virtual PBX" suite and a professional services division to put solutions for service providers and enterprise customers.

It's not like going cloudy and outsourcing are crazy, out-of-the-blue ideas. Metaswitch Networks has discussed how it can take its Perimeta SBC and other software to build a fully functional phone service running on Amazon or another cloud provider.

One very large service provider seems to do very little other than outsource these days. AT&T (News - Alert) has at least three different services it buys as white label offerings to fill out its portfolio. Metaswitch has been providing the back-end to AT&T's IP unified messaging platform for closet to a decade. 

AT&T's over-the-top international calling application is run by 8x8 (News - Alert) as a turnkey offering, including infrastructure, billing and customer service.

And let's not forget RingCentral Office@Hand from AT&T. Announced about a week ago, AT&T is offering an end-to-end full cloud service with RingCentral to connect workers over broadband. The offering includes "Plug & Ring ready" IP desktop phones for the office, PC and smartphone apps for mobile workers.

But seriously, who isn't a mobile worker at some point these days? (And of course a user of international calling options).

Office@Hand contains the usual laundry list of features, such as the ability to make and receive customer calls (and *gag* faxes) from virtually anywhere by using a business number from a desk phone, mobile device or PC, the ability to route calls, setup auto-receptionist, presence for some types of desktop phones, and the ability to add up to 800 employees for business locations nationwide. 

A Virtual Mobile user starts at $16 a month while Premium office-based users cost $38 a month per user.

With all these pieces on the table, it’s easy to see AT&T and enterprises buying SBC as a service from Oracle some number of months in the future. Oracle wins by getting a monthly recurring revenue stream while AT&T and enterprises avoid capital expense, making the financial people on both sides happy.

Edited by Braden Becker