Mitel has been selling a wholesale private cloud offering in the U.K., and with this announcement, that model both goes global and onto the Google Cloud.
Unified communications vendor Mitel has announced that MiCloud Flex, their private cloud solution, is now available on Google Cloud – in the United States, United Kingdom and France to start. In addition, it is going to market as a wholesale offering, so will be a strong channel play, and was something that channel partners explicitly requested.
“This is critically important for us,” said Scott Peterson, Mitel’s SVP Americas. “We knew there is a segment of business customers who want their communications infrastructure in a private controlled environment, so getting this as a wholesale offering in a private cloud is important to them. It also meets a longstanding demand need from our partner community – our VARs.”
This announcement is an expansion of an offering that Mitel has had in the U.K. market for over two years.
“We have had a private cloud wholesale offering in the UK for some time,” Peterson said. “We learned a lot of lessons about what worked in the market.” It would not technically be correct to refer to the wholesale private cloud offering in the UK as a pilot for this. In addition to its being around for over two years, it was not on the Google Cloud. That’s new in all geos with this announcement, and Mitel is confident that this will significantly expand their reach.
“The other thing that drives today’s announcement is that partners said that this is the model that they want,” Peterson indicated. “They think it’s a much better fit for them in the public cloud than our retail public cloud offering, MiCloud Connect.”
A Mitel wholesale offering is a straight channel play. A retail offering has a channel aspect as well, but it’s more complicated. The retail deals are on Mitel paper, so the offering is technically direct – but they are often delivered through channel partners.
MiCloud Flex, which was once called MiCloud Enterprise, has been around for a while. But Peterson emphasized that Mitel is not just sticking a legacy product into the cloud, so that it gains none of the native benefits
“MiCloud Flex is a state of the art private cloud offering,” he said. “It has the DNA from previous iterations, but has been updated. I would characterize this wholesale offering as architected exclusively for the cloud. Our call control and all the main Mitel value propositions are included, but this service was written, designed and launched as a cloud offering.”
This private cloud offering is ideally suited for the Work From Home environment, but Peterson indicated that its appearance during the pandemic is a coincidence.
“We announced our strategic relationship with Google in early 2019 and MiCloud Connect appeared last year,” he said. “For a year and a half, we’ve been moving to put this offer in place and validating it. We do think that customer attraction to the cloud may increase as a result of COVID-19, but this was done independently of that.”
Finally, Peterson addressed the issue of why Mitel, a Canadian company, chose not to include Canada in the initial launch. He said that the U.K. was an obvious choice, because of the wholesale private cloud offering there already, and that it as important to have the U.S. in.
“We also have a big install base in France, and we have not had a cloud offering in France at all prior to today,” he noted. “That’s why we picked France for the launch.”
Canada is not far off, Peterson pledged.
“We will add additional countries later in the year and Canada is on our radar,” he said. “We continue to hear from our Canadian partners and customers that there is demand in Canada for this. Our service provider base has done hosted offerings but in terms of Mitel-branded cloud, we have been serving Canada solely with our retail offering.”