Network-as-a-Service, commonly abbreviated as NaaS, is a service model where network functionality is provided at an agreed SLA, on a subscription basis. Rather than procure, deploy and maintain the hardware and software necessary to deliver a required network architecture, consumers simply rent networking services from a NaaS provider. NaaS offerings can address a variety of IT needs ranging from regional or global network connectivity to cloud hosted network security and cloud on-ramp.
Is Network-as-service a new concept?
Even if you are unfamiliar with NaaS as a term, you are likely familiar with some traditional network as-a-service offerings that have been on the market for some time, such as MPLS or managed WAN/LAN/WLAN services. While these traditional managed network solutions technically classify as a NaaS, most modern NaaS solutions offer greater levels of self-service, automation and programmability along with rapid deployment, ever-green software releases and flexible term commitments consistent with cloud delivered service models.
Why utilize Network-as-a-Service?
Procuring a NaaS in place of a DIY, in-house network build allows organisations to focus on the outcomes required to deliver services and applications to users rather than the maintenance and operation of the underlying infrastructure. With a NaaS, the burden of infrastructure deployment, scaling and maintenance is managed by the provider, allowing consumers to simply select and deploy the features and capacity they need when and where they need it. From a financial perspective, the monthly recurring OPEX model of a NaaS allows consumers to avoid the lumpy, CAPEX based model of traditional network procurement and break away from the traditional upgrade/deployment cycle of self managed infrastructure.
Network as-a-Service (NaaS) Key Benefits
Network as-a-service companies focus on extending typical SaaS benefits to the network. In particular, the network as-a-service market promises customers the following benefits:
- Lower cloud network costs for network as-a-service deployments
NaaS lowers IT costs by disposing with up-front CAPEX expenses such as hardware and other infrastructure. It also provides more predictable budget spend by offering pay-as-you-go and subscription pricing more typical of cloud computing models than that of traditional single or multi-cloud networks.
- Shorter learning curves for network as-a-service offerings
Network as-a-service companies typically provide significant knowledge and expertise in solving day to day cloud networking challenges, making networking changes and data center refreshes faster and less complex. They also focus on blueprinting standard network processes to help improve IT operational scale.
- NaaS delivers faster time to service
The elimination of hardware and software procurement and deployment cycles, coupled with a more agile development and consumption model, makes network as-a-service (NaaS) architectures appealing to large customers that need tighter network SLAs, as well as to smaller firms who want to outsource all or part of their network to a NaaS provider.
Introducing Alkira Cloud Area Networking
The network as-a-service market continues to evolve in particular to address the unique needs of single and multi-cloud network environments. A new form of NaaS, known as Cloud Area Networking, has emerged as the leading architecture for cloud-centric deployments. Offering all the advantages of a traditional NaaS, Alkira Cloud Area Networking is built, integrated, and delivered entirely in the cloud, including the data plane, control plane, and management functions.
First introduced by Alkira, this new form of network as-a-service is rapidly becoming the industry standard as it provides a level of elasticity and provisioning agility unknown to traditional NaaS architectures. Designed expressly for the cloud era, Alkira Cloud Area Networking can reduce the time to onboard a new cloud provider from a typical 6 months to as little as a few hours.
Figure 1: Alkira Cloud Area Networking