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GigaOm Radar for Network as a Service (NaaS)v3.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

Network-as-a-service (NaaS) vendors provide a global transit network by enabling any-to-any connectivity among globally distributed sets of cloud workloads, branch sites, software as a service (SaaS), on-premises services, and users.

Just as the future is hybrid for the cloud, with enterprises mixing and matching on-premises and cloud-based workloads, so is the future hybrid for NaaS and in-house network management. NaaS is not here to fully replace telecom networks managed by an organization, but it can extend existing networks with on-demand global connectivity that’s easy to provision, decommission, and adapt as business needs change.

NaaS requires organizations to relinquish control over the network. This means that organizations don’t have direct control over what hardware is being used, negotiating deals with hardware providers, or sweating assets. However, long deployment times and overhead costs for spinning up new networks are not acceptable in some scenarios. A NaaS solution can alleviate these exact problems in contexts such as mergers and acquisitions, deploying new sites for high-growth and rapidly expanding businesses, managing globally distributed operating companies, or hiring a remote workforce.

To support this cloud-like model for provisioning networking infrastructure, NaaS vendors also must cater to the appropriate audience—NetDevOps. While all vendors featured in this report expose their services via APIs, it’s also worth evaluating integrations with infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tooling and CI/CD pipelines. This code-based approach to managing networks can help deliver on the promise of on-demand scalability and flexibility.

In parallel, NaaS vendors can also provide an intuitive and visual way of provisioning infrastructure and configuring it. This can be done using visual builders and marketplaces that can help chain security and routing services.

While security services and secure access bring us into the realm of secure access service edge (SASE) and secure service access (SSA), this report does not explicitly require vendors to provide these functionalities. The integrated security services and secure access evaluated in this report are core functional elements, including features such as traffic filtering, secure transmission, policy definition, network segmentation, and user authorization. Features such as zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud access security broker (CASB), or secure web gateway (SWG) are not in scope for this evaluation but can be good value-adds for certain organizations from vendors that offer them.

While the network is outsourced to a third party, businesses that purchase a NaaS solution still need an in-house network team to configure the services with respect to business processes and intent. Even though one of the selling points of NaaS is being supported by an extensive and fully dedicated third-party team to ensure network operations, outages and performance degradation can still occur. NaaS vendors are thus offering reporting capabilities so the customer can ensure the network performs to a high degree and meets the service level agreements.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key NaaS vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating NaaS Solutions,” we describe in more detail the capabilities and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

This is our third year evaluating the NaaS space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. All solutions included in this Radar report meet the following table stakes—capabilities widely adopted and well implemented in the sector:

  • Software-defined network virtualization
  • Self-service management portal
  • Mobile, cloud, and edge connectivity
  • API control
  • Network triggered failover

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.