Cloud computing has created an explosion in the use of the term, “as-a-service”. Currently, Network as a Service (NaaS) may be in its relative infancy, but it would be a mistake to ignore it because it represents the future of networking.
Network as a Service affords companies greater flexibility and performance in their network infrastructure. But to achieve this, carefully planning your multi-phase journey to Network as a Service is essential.
NaaS is a business model for delivering enterprise-wide area network services virtually on a subscription basis application and enables operators to scale the service up or down to meet customer needs and add new functionality and features on-demand. And since it’s rooted in the cloud, the first practical option is the virtual overlay network. The important question to ask is: How does it relate to network services or infrastructure? Given the fact that NaaS is implemented by software, these “application networks” are additions to the actual network equipment and services.
Another way of looking at NaaS is to see it as a group of data transport services provisioned and managed by a third party. Its network infrastructure design can take on many forms in the enterprise, not only virtual overlays, such as through the use of WAN, LAN and data centre networking.
How to connect to the NaaS network
Clients will gain access through one-to-one network connections that are created on demand between a user and a specific resource that the user needs to access, with fewer network integration delays than traditional networks. Everything else is invisible to the user. No access is possible unless it is explicitly granted – which effectively establishes dynamically provisioned secure network segmentation. Any endpoints attempting to join the network are authenticated and will be authorised to do so.
NaaS design for WAN
Software-defined networks can be built in-house, but it’s becoming increasingly popular to outsource the provisioning and management of WAN links to a reputable ISP. This offers users the ability to tap into its application-aware routing intelligence which resides in its distributed cloud network. To make this intelligence available to users, the provider deploys a hardware- based product like SD-WAN or a software based thin client as a virtualised customer premises equipment vCPE at the company's corporate and branch office WAN’s edge. All WAN routing, traffic shaping and security policies are then managed from its cloud.
Another advantage of NaaS in a WAN is that the business model delivers enterprise WAN services virtually, on a subscription basis – whether pay-as-you-use or pay-as-you-grow - customers enjoy the control to expand or contract throughput as required.
NaaS design for data centres
Enterprises are informed about the benefits of using a Tier 3 data centre as part of their multi-cloud strategy, but they increasingly need access to diverse cloud connectivity to meet application access demands – and NaaS provides the means to do just that.
NaaS will provide clients with the means for on-demand provisioning and management of the network. This drives efficient expansion, management and cost containment by providing variable network connectivity to adapt to network load requirements. The increased level of flexibility makes it easier to add and reconfigure resources quickly and meet fluctuating network transport needs based on real-time utilisation. Workload bursting and balancing via NaaS helps to keep costs low while enabling organisations to tailor network and workloads for peak efficiency and performance.
These virtualised network appliances, including virtual switches, load balancers and firewalls, can be deployed by us and we will then remotely manage and monitor these services. Using the IS data centre frees our clients from having to manage increasingly complex data centre network components and devices that might reside inside corporate-owned data centres. Most functions of customer premises equipment become virtualised, either at the service provider’s cloud located near the service edge, or into a server at the customer’s site.
How to lay the groundwork for NaaS
Once you’ve settled on how you’ll make use of NaaS, ensure that you partner with an ISP that makes use of a network that stretches across wide areas. Since the ISP will have to manage remote sites and servers across the global footprint and handle bulk WAN circuit pricing, it’s best to choose an established ISP.
We have an extensive network of partnerships in the telecoms industry. Speaking of the network, now is a good time to let you know that our infrastructure is expanding rapidly. This is to ensure that we will have the capacity to meet demand in the event of new developments.
This cloud-based networking leads to:
- Faster product deployment due to having more readily-programmable infrastructure and reduced requirements for on-site installations.
- Continuous up-to-date product features because of NaaS’ software-based nature, enabling rapid changes.
- Speedy order turnaround with autonomous order processing.
- Mass customisation becomes a reality to meet clients’ specific needs.
- Greater innovation through faster product creation and a low touch approach.
- Lower failure of products as more information will be available in the data analytics to support the product upfront.
- More flexible commercial models from fixed subscriptions to pay-as-you-use to pay-as-you-grow billing options.
- More elastic services enable dynamic resource demand that suits the clients’ requirements.
- Simpler access to services via client interfaces that encourage usage and engagement.
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