In our recent webinar—The Reality of Network as a Service—I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion with three of our Network as a Service leaders and delve into some of the top questions they are getting from IT leaders about NaaS.  The insights and stories they shared, helped clarify what NaaS is and what it isn’t and highlighted some of the big opportunities (and also some challenges) that lie ahead for organizations that are considering NaaS as part of their networking strategy.

Here I’ll share a few of my key takeaways along with some of the highlights from this session, and I encourage you to enjoy this on-demand replay.  You’ll get a better sense of what NaaS is, how it compares to other as-a-service models, the kinds of capabilities and benefits you can expect, and the opportunity to see a demo of what a NaaS experience would look like for a network engineer.

NaaS brings the simplicity, flexibility, and scalability of cloud-like consumption to networking.

The traditional way of procuring network equipment has limitations when it comes to providing the agility that fast-moving organizations need in today’s environment.  Chiara Medicina points out that customers are getting accustomed to the cloud model and want that same cloud-like consumption for their on-prem networking infrastructure.  She also notes how NaaS is different than a lease model that has a longer buying cycle with separate agreements for equipment and services.  Adding to this, Dave Malik explains that NaaS is similar to other cloud models in that it is evolutionary.  In other words, organizations can try it out on a small scale first or in a particular domain before taking those lessons learned and adopting other NaaS offerings.

NaaS is all about the experience.

The business will appreciate their network and application performance.  After all, NaaS is first and foremost about delivering improved outcomes.  In an analogy, Omri Guelfand compares the NaaS model to how we consume a meal.  A person can either buy all the ingredients and go to the hassle of cooking them, or they can go to a restaurant where the meal is prepared with the best ingredients and then served to them in a wonderful dining experience.  When we relate this back to NaaS, this experience is not only about the user experience, but also the networking teams’ experience.

IT teams will love the double-clicks.

Seeing the demo shows just how simple it is for IT teams to double-click and even triple click into the different areas of their network.  Through a single pane of glass, NaaS allows networking teams to drill down all the way to the equipment level to get the visibility and insights needed to improve performance.  And in the same pane of glass, they can also analyze their consumption and adjust their capacity as needed.  As Dave explains, the IT teams he is speaking with are demanding deep visibility and insights along with security across domains.  So regardless of whether it’s a data center, campus, or a hybrid cloud environment—the capabilities are fundamental to the architecture and the platforms driving it.

NaaS adoption is specific to each organization, and it is an evolutionary journey.

Some may be under the impression that NaaS is an all-or-nothing proposition that means giving up control of your network.  However, Dave offered another perspective that NaaS actually gives an IT team more control of their network. And as our presenters discussed, there really is no one-size-fits-all solution.  I think it’s also worth reiterating here that moving to a NaaS model doesn’t have to require a major transformational effort. It can be adopted gradually even as a bolt-on solution in a particular area of your network.

“When teams are thinking about control, I view adopting NaaS as an opportunity for IT teams to really hone and focus on what your core vision is…there’s a lot of visibility and control and the ability for you to capture your intent is what matters.”  –Omri Guelfand

Want to learn more?

From my perspective, NaaS is an impressive network model that promises a better way to do networking and let your IT teams focus on what they do best—driving innovation.  If you’re interested in learning more and understanding if NaaS could be a right fit for your environment and strategy, check out some of these complimentary resources.



Arlan Arthaud

Product Marketing Manager

Cisco Networking