Stateless and PacketFabric Streamline Data Analytics


By: Mary Jander

Startup Stateless Inc. has teamed with PacketFabric to remove an enormous roadblock for data scientists: data delivery for analytics in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Consider the issue: Gathering data from multiple sources across multiple clouds can snarl IT indefinitely. Teams must move information from one endpoint to another, from one cloud to another, dipping into data lakes and data warehouses across an array of networks to get data required for analytics.

It’s those networks that are the main snarl, because the links between remote sites, third-party data stores, hybrid cloud resources, and public multi-cloud services often aren’t just different but individually complicated. There are firewalls with differing characteristics; there are BGP conundrums; there are pesky cloud parameters; there are mixed MPLS and Internet connections.

Stateless’s solution is to virtualize network functions like routing and to use application programming interfaces (APIs) to create a portal to the transport network that is provided by PacketFabric — eliminating the need to tangle with digital middlemen.

Stateless and PacketFabric Are Automated

Stateless has expertise in network functions virtualization (NFV), but execs claim to have gone farther than legacy NFV solutions. This is in part because the hundreds of functions Stateless provides aren’t linked to specific vendor hardware. Also, the startup uses a patented technique to split the state of network devices from their actual functions — a microservices approach to NFV.

For its part, PacketFabric, included in our Futuriom 40 report, also leverages an entirely automated software-defined network (SDN)-based architecture. Along with optical and packet switching technologies, the result is a network-as-a-service (NaaS) that enables dynamic, real-time connectivity between its points of presence (PoPs) at popular colocation facilities worldwide.

“Organizations are struggling in building their data pipeline as their infrastructure expands across different clouds,” said Murad Kablan, Stateless co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “At Stateless, we help our customers eliminate the network as a barrier to effectively create value from the ever-increasing volume of data that is being produced. Our partnership with PacketFabric allows us to deliver on that goal one step further by leveraging the vast and highly automated network of PacketFabric.”

Stateless Plus PacketFabric Could Equal Savings

The combination of Stateless’s NFV with PacketFabric’s network could save more than the time required to get data through the pipeline and into data scientists’ hands. It could also save costs, and not just OpEx: Back in December, PacketFabric introduced a dramatic marketing ploy in the form of pricing its service at 1 Gbit/s per month for $100. That could factor as a savings for takers of the Stateless/PacketFabric integration.

"What we did that’s fundamentally different is we took out all long-haul pricing," PacketFabric CEO Dave Ward (ex-Cisco CTO) told Futuriom last year. "The entire U.S. is considered a metro area, for $100 a month, one Gig. That is a big Internet business architecture change. Other telcos are going to give you a cloud on-ramp pricing and then they are going to give you a long-haul pricing. We extended it all across the country.”

Stateless Looks Ahead to Other Integrations

The deal with PacketFabric represents a next step for Stateless. The company, founded in 2016 in Boulder, Colo., had a goal to work with data center real estate investment trusts (REITs) such as Equinix (EQIX) or Digital Realty (DLR) to automate data pipelines for their big enterprise customers. It won business from a range of those companies, including Digital Fortress.

Stateless soon realized that the big facilities dealers weren’t alone in needing this kind of service: Large enterprises were interested too. And as good a deal as it has with PacketFabric, Stateless isn’t limiting itself to that relationship. Other integrations will follow, the company says, declining specifics.

So far, Stateless is fully integrated with just one cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), though Azure and other integrations are soon to follow, execs say.

Stateless and the Competition

Stateless treats one aspect of a growing set of challenges facing users of multi-cloud networking (MCN) — namely, the issue of data collection for analysis. It faces competition from other companies that also have focused on other aspects of MCN.

Alkira, for instance, is one of several companies offering cloud-based routing as a service. Stateless says it’s different because it doesn’t only work over the internet, but instead can use the Internet or the APIs of transport suppliers such as PacketFabric, Cato Networks, Megaport, and Pureport (the last is another Futuriom 40 firm, whose assets were recently acquired by Digital Realty).

Stateless raised $11.33 million in Series A funding in 2019 from Drive Capital and Speedinvest. Shortly after, the company won $750,000 in a National Science Foundation grant. Whether it gets acquired or raises more money will signal how the particular niche Stateless has picked will play out against the broader market for MCN software and services.