Naas: Use cases by [SD-WAN Service] Providers and Challenges
NaaS (Network-as-a-Service) implementation: how does it work?
Using Cisco’s Plus offering as an example of bringing NaaS into the enterprise is an effective way to bring this technology into the enterprise. Cisco is offering two flavors for now, although it hopes to provide a plethora of service options under Cisco Plus.
Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud includes the company’s data center compute, networking, and storage portfolio as well as third-party software and storage segments and is managed through Intersight cloud management. Clients can choose to get planning, designing, and installing services at their level of choice through an API. The Cisco Plus Hybrid Cloud, which will be available in mid-year, offers pay-as-you-go with orders delivered within 14 days.
Using other Cisco Plus services, such as Cisco’s SD-WAN and cloud-based Umbrella security software, the second service will integrate the company’s protected access services edge (SASE) parts.
There will be a surprising delivery method for other NaaS services. In a traditional telecommunications network service provider, many network availability services can be considered contributions to NaaS.
A virtualized connection service that abstracts the hidden physical network is offered by Metro Ethernet Services and other L2VPNs, L3VPNs including IPsec and MPLS VPNs, and, more recently, SD-WAN services. Additional virtualized functions can also be incorporated into network contributions, such as vCPE, firewalls, or remote access doors.
Megaport and PacketFabric both own network infrastructure but focus on providing a smaller range of highly adaptable and cost-effective NaaS contributions, sometimes known as software-defined interconnect services. In addition to smoothing out networks to public clouds and other service providers, they also provide colocation and Internet exchange services.
SD-WAN and other NaaS contributions are increasingly created by upcoming service providers without owning the underlying infrastructure.
Alkira, for example, can offer a virtualized cloud-based application service based on infrastructure provided by public cloud providers. Today, these types of services might be the first things that come to mind when someone says ‘NaaS,’ yet it would be a mistake to define NaaS as simply encompassing these contributions.
It is common for companies to buy cloud hosting as a service for one, three, or five years, and to pay all upfront, yearly, or on a month-to-month basis.
Several factors determine to price, including the number of users, the square footage, and the bandwidth used.
A look at the use cases of NaaS
NaaS is already being used by some early adopters. There is a growing standardization of remote access.
Cloud computing is changing the way things are connected because there is a world of networking to and between clouds to consider.
Using private WANs, we can, for instance, arrange our sites to be connected with other locations, such as private data centers. Right now, it needs to network our sites to cloud services, and it may be doing so with public-internet service providers.
In addition, there are some NaaS use cases, including a complete branch office with the network, WAN circuits, wireless, and so on all bundled into one low monthly fee.
The provider of such service designs the network for the building, purchases, installs and maintains the gear for members on a month-to-month basis. You could package other services like security and collaboration all together for a single bill or membership.
In general, companies that adopt NaaS models experience quicker deployments since they can use the expertise of accomplices and vendors to expedite the planning process.
Moreover, NaaS allows users to access new technologies, including Wi-Fi 6 and 100GbE, with access to hardware updates and upcycle opportunities to ensure that the network is running at peak performance levels and can be scaled up or down to meet needs.
NaaS also improves refresh cycles since updates happen flawlessly when there is less downtime scheduled, as well as enhancing performance due to newer hardware and upgraded service levels. As a result of ongoing monitoring of performance metrics for all IT assets within the environment, NaaS can finally minimize the amount of outdated, inadequate infrastructure within the environment.
Currently, greenfields, temporary workspaces, and small branch locations are the best choices for adoption. Moreover, security and solid application performance are also important to remote employees, home workers, and mobile workers who rely on cloud computing for their jobs.
Challenges related to NaaS
As we move forward, one of the key challenges for any NaaS implementation will be its support of an integrated security system.
Security and compliance are two areas where companies prefer to handle their own business.
NaaS providers are responsible for a certain amount of safety control, which can be problematic.
If the client still wants to conduct traffic inspections or use safety tools such as NetFlow, can this be done? Furthermore, who is responsible for penetration and how might it be remedied?
In addition, there are other concerns – like the capability of customizing the service to meet quite specific needs.
There may be an inclination, as with any managed service, to install the least expensive hardware possible and use it to the fullest extent possible.
This implies the significance of service level agreements and the need for them to address key metrics including:
- What are the critical metrics of achievement and necessity? It can be measured in many ways (such as bandwidth per user, server up-time, application performance, etc.)
- How are service levels and uptime guaranteed?
- The hardware will be upgraded continuously with the newest technology, how often?
- What tools will the NaaS provider use to manage and estimate capacity and performance proactively?
- In addition to adding or changing policies, what do you mean by add/change expenses? For example, if the client reconfigures its building and needs to add more workers, how will extra equipment/capacity be handled? The same question applies to staff reductions. How is it handled?
- Moving to a NaaS model will be difficult and time-consuming for larger companies with extensive investment in the existing network, branch, campus, and data center infrastructure.
- Further complicating matters will be multi-vendor environments. Any breakdown of WAN availability may seriously degrade or disable enterprise network operations since NaaS is based on fast, low-latency internet connectivity.
- As per Network World, NaaS pricing is as yet undetermined, so business leaders might find that their per-year operational expenses are higher than expected since the service is relatively new.