What is NaaS? & Why NaaS Now?

I joined PacketFabric because it is one of the founding companies behind the NaaS (Network-as-a-Service) concept.

For years, I had been all over SDN (Software Defined Networking); controllers, moving the industry via major vendors portfolios. Yet, things just weren’t going fast enough. I wanted a chance to explain why I joined Anna, Jezzibell, Chad and the team and what I see in the future for NaaS, which is an evolution of the Internet Architecture; in particular from the technical side. Towards that end, a first blog defining what is and what’s different about NaaS may bring some clarity to a seemingly crowded and semantically overloaded term.

With increasing frequency, the analysts that traditional Enterprises have relied upon to provide guidance on technology trends have been focusing on NaaS. Sure, we’ve followed the SDN cycle through their analytical lens and NaaS IS SDN for the WAN, DCI or middle-mile-to-services that a real-time network requires and that now has their eye because it’s very timely.

Over the last year, PacketFabric has made great strides in moving from its early startup stage by really ramping (portfolio, business and operations) and attracting recognition in recent analysis by Gartner, Futuriom and (most recently) GigaOm. These are all excellent reads, but the perspective of each individual analysis understandably leads to the inclusion of companies profiled with capabilities that are sometimes broader than what I would personally define as NaaS and other times just adjacent to NaaS. The lumping together of overlay tunnel companies, SD-WAN companies, security companies, and more I’ll discuss later, is confusing on both a technical and business level. Sometimes “lumping” things together is easy but, it’s time to sort and match up the socks. It’s time to define NaaS and create a new market category.

How NaaS Started - Way back machine

NaaS is different than other software-defined technologies because it starts with a fundamental architectural shift rooted in how automation and orchestration technology stacks are built. All from-the-ground-up reinvention, no patchwork quilt, natively utilizing dynamic private cloud and public cloud environments. Utilizing any protocol and automation language to “talk” to the boxes, NaaS creates a full on (per the trade marketing arm) “Network Operating System” to power a nextgen Service Provider. In combination with traditional colocation assets, Private Network Interconnect and IXs creating a secure, private internet. NaaS is really trying to solve fundamental problems in how networks were managed and presented to customers as a private internet. Summarized in our own NaaS Operator’s Guide.

“The legacy model of WAN requires building a private data network or purchasing access from a service provider with a series of complex manual steps through both the business process as well as the technology infrastructure process. This is no longer compatible with today’s modern applications, which require a streamlined and automated process driven by digital technology rather than “pieces of paper and plugs.”

Working with operators and network owners for decades; just about every aspect of the legacy WAN and DCI model was static and frankly unable to evolve out of its own way. The well was dry on that operational architecture. It was designed around static resource allocation with a slow rate of change (bandwidth, technology, peers/partners). It was hampered by complexity, lock-in, bureaucracy and gatekeeping. What am I talking about?

Click here to read the full blog post.

PacketFabric redefines how the enterprise moves data by automating network connectivity services. Leveraging an entirely automated SDN-based network architecture and the latest in optical and packet switching technology, PacketFabric enables dynamic, real-time connectivity services between more than hundreds of premier colocation facilities across many global markets. The PacketFabric Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform delivers simple, cost-effective, and scalable network deployment via its advanced Application Program Interface (API) and web portal. PacketFabric was named the “2020 Fierce Telecom Innovation Award for Cloud Services,” one of the “10 Hottest Networking Startups of 2020” by CRN and a “2020 Cool Vendor in Enhanced Internet Services and Cloud Connectivity” by Gartner. PacketFabric is a women-founded technology start-up, launched by industry veterans Jezzibell Gilmore, PacketFabric’s Chief Commercial Officer, and Anna Claiborne, Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering for PacketFabric. PacketFabric investors include NantWorks and Digital Alpha Advisors. For more information, visit packetfabric.com.

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