Mitel Blends Enterprise UC, Carrier Worlds With New IaaS Offering

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With unified communications vendors big and small looking to fine-tune their cloud strategies, Mitel is putting a stake in the ground for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, opening up a piece of its carrier services business for Mitel partners interested in deeper cloud deployments.

Mitel confirmed Wednesday an offering called AnyWare IaaS, an extension of its Freedom UC architecture that lets organizations host Mitel's virtualized UC and collaboration software in virtual private data centers provided through Mitel NetSolutions, the company's competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) business.

"What we're talking about is a private cloud service," said Jon Brinton, president of Mitel NetSolutions, in a recent discussion with CRN. "When you're looking at scalability with services delivered off the public cloud, you just don't have the degree of flexibility you have in a private cloud deployment. We want to leverage the assets we have to go to a place in the market where customers want to be."

[Related: Mitel CEO: We're Going To Clean Up Our Act On Channel]

Mitel AnyWare IaaS offers SAS 70-compliant virtual private data center infrastructure with all the resources needed to support Mitel UC applications, including completely virtualized voice communications for private and hybrid cloud setups.

The goal, according to Brinton, was to be able to offer the same functionality to customers, via hosted infrastructure, that they'd have if they purchased IT and deployed Mitel UC applications. In other words, AnyWare IaaS solves the problem of customers that want to deploy virtualized UC but can't afford the capital expense of putting it in their own data centers.

Mitel, which in 2011 went through a management shake-up and sought to reboot as a far more channel-friendly vendor than in previous years, has staked much of its growth on the convergence of virtualization and UC. Its many rivals, from larger players such as Avaya to midsize challengers such as ShoreTel, also are developing cloud communications strategies.

Key for Mitel is its two-year-old Freedom platform, which delivers UC applications to customers via a cloud-based software stream, and Mitel AnyWare, a hosted PBX offering intended for small-business customers. Mitel also has partnered extensively with VMware, and AnyWare IaaS, is, naturally, VMware-ready.

NEXT: Opportunities Around Virtualized UC, IaaS

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