Diminishing network boundaries and rapid technology evolution with changing market needs are bringing Network as a service (NaaS) to the forefront. NaaS brings with its networks, operations, business architecture tailored with more agility and open-based standards, having the best ROI among all the types of Network Deployments.
In this blog, we look at why a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) model has become more popular among enterprises, and how it helps improve network service provisioning and cloud connectivity.
Following the mass adoption of subscription services by consumers – themselves enabled through the technological leap delivered by the cloud – the ‘as-a-service’ model of consumption has grown in popularity among enterprises in the last decade. In short, Networks-as-a-Service (NaaS), as with any ‘X-as-a-Service’ (XaaS), is the continuation of a trend towards renting rather than owning infrastructure and applications, which for businesses also means a shift from capex to opex and an increase in agility as digital transformation rolls on.
What is NaaS?
NaaS has a unique Network Design built on the model wherein a pay-per-use model charge out rate is made on the network services sourced from third parties to customers who are not interested or not equipped to build their network infrastructure. Network leader Cisco in its report, predicts that NaaS adoption will grow at a rate of 40.7% between 2021 and 2027 and believes that NaaS is here to stay and be part of enterprise computing,
NaaS builds on a software-defined network (SDN) and includes networking resources, services, and applications as a product made available for several users for a contracted period. NaaS provides data centre connectivity, security services, comprehensive area network connectivity, etc. NaaS sits on the cloud, offering a pay-per-use model, and customers can scale up/down based on their needs. In a nutshell, NaaS will optimize resource allocations considering and computing resources as a single unified module.
Need for NaaS
Moving away from traditional on-premises networks, enterprises have seen the value of the cloud. The corporate network perimeter has almost disappeared, and NaaS is becoming a technology to latch onto.
- NaaS offers flexibility to businesses.
Without massive hardware and network gear investments, businesses can see the more excellent value by using utility models, thereby saving costs.
- Time to innovate
NaaS offers innovations by keeping in line with updated software versions by upgrading licenses and can meet business needs to launch new products and services faster.
- Minimal operational risk
NaaS will minimize operational risk artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning (ML); organizations can look to deploy the latest product features and functions.
Benefits from NaaS
- Flexibility: Provision and decommission connections as and when, as changes are made to the network via software, not hardware.
- Scalability: Enterprise NaaS customers can simply increase capacity on their virtual network instead of purchasing and plugging in more hardware.
- Global interconnection: Users access the network from anywhere, even without the need for a VPN. Connect to any partner in the cloud ecosystem directly.
- No maintenance: The network provider owns and maintains the network, managing software and hardware upgrades.
- Greater security: NaaS makes it possible to tightly integrate networking services and security services like firewalls, as well as simplifying management.
- Cost control: Purchasing services instead of building your own services can result in cost savings as enterprises do not need to purchase and maintain hardware. Capacity can be increased, decreased, and moved around the network as required, giving more granular cost control.
Apart from this NaaS has a lower cost structure – shifting from a capex to an opex model – thanks to the adoption of commodity hardware and open software, but also offers a greater degree of operational automation with better capabilities to architect and create new services.
In this way, the WAN shifts from being a static asset to a dynamic resource that delivers strategic advantages, not least because the network itself is more flexible but also because it becomes a platform enabling a services marketplace.
Enterprises are no longer bound by the direct relationships their network provider has with partners, but instead have access to the entire cloud ecosystem.
It’s a wide-open field for anyone to operate – communication service providers (CSPs),virtual services providers, including next-gen mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), can offer and meet customer needs. CSP’s may just have the edge over others as their jump to NaaS will require little investment. They already will have edge and access networks ready yet may need some digital transformations that might be necessary. CSP provides NaaS services such as cloud-managed Wi-Fi, LTE services, virtual private networks (VPN).
According to industry analyst IDC, “Businesses are exploring consumption-based models in the network as a means to speed up digital transformation, reduce risk and capital costs, and enhance scalability.” Just as the cloud has enabled a highly customisable, subscription-based approach to almost everything, “Leveraging experience gained in the IT domain, organizations view the network as the next logical step for a consumption-based approach,” the analyst says.
NaaS is open for anybody to operate; it’s the CSPs who are the front with added advantages. Many enterprises already have seen the value of the cloud and the corporate network perimeter has almost disappeared, and NaaS is becoming a technology to latch onto. The trend in NaaS is upward, and its scope in adoption is broad.
As a pioneer in building a NaaS platform, STL can help enterprises enables enterprises to connect to global data centres, clouds, applications and business partners in a more simple, fast and secure way. Giving the network the same capabilities as the cloud, enterprises can self-provision high speed bandwidth on-demand, anywhere and manage and monitor in real-time.