Buying and selling in the middle mile: Unitas adds an Expedia feature

via Flickr © szeke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © szeke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • Unitas tackles the crowded platform complexity problem
  • Its cloud platform has huge reach with 550 other networks and connectivity to 900 data centres
  • Unitas claims it’s an Expedia-like solution for telecom

One of the growing roster of cloud networking operators - focused on what Telegeography calls the “middle mile” connectivity piece, which has come to mean the bit between access and cloud application - is Unitas (see - Cloud access from edge to everywhere, claims multi-cloud solution provider). Unitas Global began life in 2011 and focused then on managed private cloud, a brief that took in public, multi- and hybrid-cloud in 2016. But real growth came in 2018 when the US company launched its ‘connectivity piece, says Mary Stanhope, Unitas Chief Marketing Officer, “By that time, cloud connectivity had become the restricting point,” she says. 

With that move Unitas took off, clocking up 1000 per cent growth to now, she claims. 

It’s this connectivity focus that marks Unitas out in this fast growing and changing, ‘cloud network’ segment. 

Last month Unitas announced its Unitas ‘Reach’ edge to everywhere connectivity capabilities, this month it’s announcing the next stage - Unitas Nexus. 

Stanhope says Unitas Nexus is a brand which presents the core of its business as a connectivity provider and reseller. The way its business model works is a familiar one for any reasonably seasoned telecoms veteran. 

It buys big chunks of layer two bandwidth for its core network and parcels that up into smaller increments, selling on to the users of its platform (in competition with other providers of course) and deriving a profit from the margin. 

The key is that the data centre-driven hyper-cloud can process huge amounts of bandwidth and the Unitas Nexus platform automates all the buying, selling and, once sold, network management. This obviously cuts out a huge chunk of what would traditionally have required opex, with network sales consultants and so on assisting customers with their network specifications. There are many other saleable features on the platform but Stanhope says the connectivity is the key part of the business now. 

“We built a core layer 2 network around the globe with IP ‘over the top’ and interconnected with 550 other networks. This provides connectivity to 900 data centres and on to 30 million enterprise locations,” she claims. 

“The challenge becomes the ‘complexity piece’ on managing  both technology and applications? The challenge for users is how to cope with all the layering and how to turn it up and then avoid being locked in. So you have a local network piece connecting into our core network at layer 2 offering access to the different data centres and access providers, and then we have an IP overlay platform that allows the customer to design and price the network solution in real time.”

 The platform makes suggestions guided by ‘intent’: is the customer looking for least cost or diverse routes, for instance. It then leads on to providing facilities for the customer to order and then manage the service. 

“We can take in and load an entire inventory and price it out against the market,” says Stanhope. “Think of it like an Expedia-like solution for telecom. Like Expedia (a travel planning and booking site) it allows you to quickly see what your options are.”

And it’s not just a one-way series of sales. 

“Buy/sell is an important part of the approach - we could be selling US connectivity to a large telco group based in Asia, for instance, and buying their bandwidth for our customer’s needs  too. 

“What you find is that some operations in the market, (similar to Unitas) have a different piece or different services and they specialise and gain scale in those. We gain scale in ours.” 

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