Stateless’ new service is aimed at enterprises, rather than the service providers they originally targeted, and while the initial launch is direct, they plan to quickly bring partners in.
Today, network-as-a-service provider Stateless has introduced Cloud Connect as a Service, a new Go-to-Market model that breaks from the company’s original strategy, in that it is aimed at enterprises rather than at service providers. It provides an on-demand capability that lets enterprises create end-to-end networks to the public cloud, using APIs to connect private cloud ports. This provides the user with enhanced efficiency and agility, and greatly lowers cloud egress costs by taking them through these private cloud ports rather than through the Internet. Like the original Go-to-Market model, this one also has a channel component.
Stateless emerged from stealth in January 2019 with a software-defined interconnect service.
“Initially our Go-to-Market was to target colos and network service providers,” said Mike Anderson, VP of Marketing at Stateless. “We were selling a software system that was packaged in a way they would consume and use to create a network as-a-service offering. That offering was based around cloud-native network function software. That made it easy to create networks – similar to NFV [network function virtualization]. But NFV was just replicating hardware, and that largely failed because people didn’t want to buy routers and run them on servers. They wanted to disaggregate everything. Stateless’ two founders invented a way of separating state from process, which would allow the software, instead of emulating a router, to just do the routing.”
The new SaaS-based multi-cloud/data centre interconnectivity solution being announced has a completely different route to market.
“With the original solution, we were selling mainly to service providers,” Anderson said. “Now we are using the software ourselves and providing services directly to end users. We had been getting interest from enterprise buyers, who were interesting in implementing network functions as microservices. But the original solution was designed for service providers and to carry a TB of capacity. The enterprises didn’t need that. So we decided to operate the platform ourselves.”
Cloud Connect as a Service enables end-to-end connectivity to AWS Virtual Private Cloud and Azure Virtual Network without the need to purchase, deploy or configure traditional network appliances and software.
“We take the connectivity all the way to inside the cloud, so that our software replaces the hardware the user would normally have to buy and install,” Anderson stated. “We provision it all, fully automated.”
A new strategic partnership with PacketFabric is an important part of this equation.
“We have built relationships with data centre operators, and two weeks ago we signed an agreement with PacketFabric,” Anderson said. “They have an API that exposes their infrastructure, and using their API, we can completely provision Layer 1 and Layer 2 to the cloud network. This enabled Cloud Connect as a Service. The end user comes to our portal, tells us how they want to reach AWS, gives us their credentials, and tells us how much capacity they want. With that, we provision everything for them.”
Customers use a direct gateway handoff to the cloud provider through PacketFabric, and Stateless has an agreement with PacketFabric through which customers can purchase connectivity from them in bite-sized pieces.
“This lets customers extract their data over a direct gateway instead of through the Internet, which will save them lots of money on egress fees,” Anderson said.
“The partnership angle with PacketFabric gave the green light to make this happen, and we are working on a couple other relationships right now,” he added.
Stateless has been working with MSP and CSP partners since the summer of 2019, but that was selling the complete platform.
“While we are initially launching Cloud Connect as a Service through our direct sales channel, we fully intend to take it into our partner channel,” Anderson said. “There are maybe 150 viable consumers for our other product. This one can be packaged in a way to take it easily to the channel, and there are hundreds of thousands of possible users, as small as $25 million in size. We will be looking for channel partners to extend our reach with this service.”
For limited time, over the next few months, Stateless will initially be signing people up for free to get people on the platform.
“Regular service pricing will start at about $400 a month, about half of which is for access to the Network Function software, and rest is endpoint-related, based on speed and destination,” Anderson said.