Key Criteria for Evaluating Network as a Service Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. NaaS Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take

1. Summary

Communications within enterprises have never been more complex, and that means network infrastructures are growing in complexity as well. There are many reasons for this, including the growing interoperability between IT and OT, the digitization of supply chains, and the increasing reliance on remote and hybrid work. Data centers, platforms for public cloud services, industrial plants, and an increasing number of distributed workplaces must be seamlessly connected. Costs should be low, with availability and capacity high. Top priorities for IT departments include transparency and manageability. Skills shortages and the constant barrage of malware and bad actors on more and more distributed structures pose additional challenges for many companies. A new approach, network as a service (NaaS), can help enterprises meet these challenges.

NaaS combines agile cloud computing with modern IT security approaches, such as secure service access (SSA) and zero-trust network access (ZTNA). NaaS offerings are software-defined and programmable. Services can be quickly set up or removed with centralized management tools. Standardized interfaces ensure interoperability with existing solutions—for deployment or identity management, for example. A NaaS solution is based on orchestration and flexible services that go far beyond pure enterprise networking. All of this differentiates NaaS from both managed networks, a service for existing legacy networks, and enterprise-managed software-defined wide area networks (SDWAN).

NaaS is sometimes referred to as network on demand (NoD). In both cases, enterprises benefit from on-demand provisioning with a pay-per-use model. There are no investment costs for hardware or line rental, no long installation and delivery times or complex configurations. NaaS takes into account the dynamic requirements of software as a service (SaaS) offerings as well as the use of different cloud service platforms and edge computing. In addition to infrastructure optimization, NaaS enables better planning of resources and budgets.

NaaS solutions can be obtained not only from a variety of providers, such as network or cloud service providers (NSPs and CSPs) and telecommunications providers (commonly known as telcos), but also increasingly via content delivery network (CDN) operators or cloud security platforms. These providers operate the network infrastructure, including software-defined interconnection (SDI), software-defined cloud interconnection (SDCI), and software-defined internet exchange (SD-IX).

It’s not just startups and fast-growing companies or business units with a need for great flexibility that are turning increasingly to NaaS. Established organizations also appreciate being able to better focus on their core competencies and leave networking, security, and related functions to a provider whose core business is to deliver highly secure network services to enterprises.

This report is an update to the 2020 GigaOm Radar for Network as a Service report.

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.

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