Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analyst’s Take
Modern networks must be agile and flexible. They must adapt to the rapidly shifting needs of the market and the enterprise. Conventional enterprise network infrastructures based on dedicated hardware and links no longer meet these requirements. New network approaches, such as software-defined networking (SDN), software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), and network as a service (NaaS), simplify the provision of network services. Software-defined networks significantly increase both security and availability, and a high level of automation helps reduce manual configuration errors.
The application layer of a NaaS provides not only typical network functions such as load balancing and monitoring, but also additional security applications such as intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and tools for zero-trust network access (ZTNA). With NaaS, integrated marketplaces with access to public cloud platforms or access to software as a service (SaaS) offerings help optimize IT service landscapes. Technological and, most importantly, operational silos are eliminated within the enterprise. The end-to-end service delivery, high availability, and optimized data streams all lead to a better user experience.
Technically, a NaaS is an overlay of a virtual network on a physical infrastructure. Some NaaS providers operate their own physical network infrastructure, while others use the existing networks of well-known telecommunications service providers (telco carriers). The latter focus on the control layer with policy management and connectivity, as well as the application layer and service integration. For the user, there is no difference. Provisioning is done programmatically, either with integrations or via APIs. Integrations are best suited to organizations without in-house programming expertise, as well as small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
By decoupling network intelligence from hardware, organizations can be much more flexible in adapting their topology. This has advantages in onboarding and offboarding employees and remote facilities. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, NaaS can dramatically reduce costs. Merging two or more networks has always been costly and vulnerable to mistakes with traditional branch networks, especially if existing contracts had to be paid off. With NaaS, the infrastructure of the newer network can simply be reused and easily integrated into the existing network topology. Central policy management also makes it possible to quickly set up new workloads with the appropriate rights and key parameters. Resources can be dynamically allocated, for example, to buffer peak loads. In a NaaS, each application will be provided with the quality of service (QoS), security, and performance it needs to perform at its best.
The term network on demand (NoD) can be used synonymously with NaaS, as both refer to networks that are software-defined and can be programmatically altered. These networks also possess centralized administration tools and the ability to quickly turn services up and tear them down.
Companies opting for a NaaS should ensure that the network and services can be managed directly and are vendor-independent. Easy-to-use self-service portals and comprehensive service marketplaces help with the central management and administration of even complex IT service landscapes.
This GigaOm Radar report highlights key NaaS vendors and identifies vendors and products that excel. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating NaaS Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics used to evaluate these vendors. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading e-discovery offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these platforms so they can make a more informed investment decision.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.