Talari Networks CEO Sweeney: New Cloud Connect Platform Bests Market's Biggest Competitors


Talari Networks CEO Patrick Sweeney is ready to rumble with the sales heavyweights of the red-hot SD-WAN market.

By rolling out its new Cloud Connect platform, Talari is seeking to distinguish itself from the crowd of vendors piling into the rapidly growing SD-WAN market and Sweeney is quick to draw bold lines between the players and the hangers-on.

"[VMware] VeloCloud is a really solid solution and Talari is the highest technically capable solution, and then you do see companies like Silver Peak in all these accounts," Sweeney said. "Those three are most predominant in most shootouts. That's if [the customer] is concerned about a high degree of reliability, or they've got some dependency on real-time applications."

That's a short list that leaves out many of the SD-WAN sector's biggest names, including Cisco Systems' Viptela, Aryaka, and Nuage networks.

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"If good is good enough, then you see a lot of the other companies still making inroads," Sweeney said. "If you think good is good enough, then you may go with Viptela. If you're not concerned with a high degree of roll-forward roll-back capabilities and administrative capabilities, you might go with some of the other players."

With Cloud Connect, Talari provisions through Mode or Meta software to allow customers to access applications like Office365 or NetSuite automatically, Sweeney said. The system relieves customers of the administrative overhead involved in putting critical applications in the cloud.

"I'm going to give you not just complete reliability among your distributed enterprise, but I'm going to give you enhanced reliability for those cloud services," Sweeney said. "If you want to access Office365 and NetSuite and all those things automatically, we'll provision through Mode or the other partners we have. If you want to get all the reliability to things like RingCentral, then that's an easy configuration where you give up nothing and you get tremendous benefits and it doesn't cost you a penny more."

"When you think of cloud, you might think of VeloCloud," Sweeney said. "What we want people to think about is you can have the highest reliability, the best failsafe SD-WAN solution out there, and the simplest-to-deploy with the best access to cloud services. We want that to be the hallmark of Talari."

Talari is one of the top 10 SD-WAN vendors in the market, according to research firm IHS Markit. While its $6.5 million in revenue in the second quarter was a strong 10 percent year-over-year increase, it still lags its larger competition. VeloCloud, the market's top player pulled in $40.1 million in revenue in the second quarter. The market's next-largest set of competitors, Aryaka, Cisco and Silver Peak, all had second quarter revenue numbers between $20- and $30 million.

Drew Lydecker, president of Avant, a Chicago, Ill., master agent that works with Talari, said his company's Talari business has doubled every year for the last two years, making Avant Talari's largest master agent partner. "SD-WAN as a segment as increased 600 percent over two years," Lydecker said. "It's become as large as our CCaaS [Contact Center as-a-Service] business in a fraction of the time."

Avant's growth with Talari is rooted in the advantages Sweeney described, Lydecker said. "When Talari has a proof-of-concept with one of our channel partners, it's almost guaranteed to convert into a paying customer," Lydecker said. "The solution fits for the customers that are looking to take power back from the WAN providers that have generally held the control. If 911 call center trust Talari to manage their VoIP network traffic, you know they're rock solid."

The channel, Sweeney said, is well positioned to make hay with Talari as long as resellers are able to position the Talari solution as not only cheaper, but also every bit as capable as traditional MPLS.

"VARs need to communicate the whole point of why you're moving away from MPLS in the first place," Sweeney said. "MPLS gave you predictability and reliability. You're going to get that, but without the cost. What we want from our VARs is to make the statement: Predictability, reliability of all your communications, whether it's between different locations or the cloud, has a higher and higher bar associated with it."