Network As a Service

Network As a Service

NaaS is a cloud model that enables users to use the network easily and achieve the results they expect without having to own, build, or maintain their infrastructure.

NaaS can replace hardware-centric VPNs, load balloons, fire protection equipment, and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) connections. Users can go up and down as demand changes, quickly deploy resources, and eliminate hardware costs.

"Instead of buying network equipment, installing it, and operating it, a Network-as-a-Service provider owns, installs and operates the equipment, and organizations pay a monthly subscription for the network services," explains Neil Anderson, senior director, network solutions, at World Wide Technology, a technology and supply chain services provider.

There are different degrees of NaaS:

  • Subscription Software: Instead of buying directly (Capex), you pay a monthly subscription (OpenX) for hardware, but you still install / use it.
  • Managed Service: Software based on subscription and managed service to use.
  • True NaaS: Provider owns, installs, and operates all resources, and simply pays a monthly turnkey service fee.

How is NaaS implemented?

A good recent example of how NaaS will be introduced in business is Cisco Plus.
While Cisco is expecting to release what could be a multitude of potential service options under Cisco Plus, it is currently introducing two flavors. The first, Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud, includes a company data center computer, network, and portfolio archive in addition to third-party software and storage component all managed by the company's Intersight-management package. By using the API, customers can choose the level of services they want to plan, design and install. The Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud, which will be available mid-year, offers payment as you go by delivering orders within 14 days, according to Cisco.

The second Cisco Plus service will integrate corporate secure access (SASE) components, such as Cisco's SD-WAN and cloud-based umbrella security software.

NaaS use cases

Some early adopters are already using NaaS. To get farther out, it is starting to go the normal way, Anderson said in a previous Network World article.

"Networking is no longer just about connecting objects within private networks, because there is now a world of cloud communication that needs to be followed," Anderson said. "For example, with private WANs, I used to link my sites with other sites as a private data centre. Now, I need to link my sites with cloud services, and I can do that with social networking services," Anderson said.

There are several situations for using NaaS, such as a full-fledged branch office or store-like network-connected service, WAN circuits, wireless, etc. all for one monthly payment, Anderson said. With a turnkey-as-a-utility network, the provider designs the building capacity, purchase, installation and use of all facilities at a monthly subscription fee. This could include other services such as security and integration all integrated into a single building service or subscription, Anderson said. In general, Butler of IDC said organizations that adopt NaaS models receive immediate deployment because they use partner technology and vendor expertise to speed up the planning process.