What is Network as a Service (NaaS)?

NaaS is defined as network infrastructure hardware, software, services, management, and licensing components consumed in a subscription-based or flexible consumption model. NaaS allows organizations to outsource the provisioning, deployment, network management, maintenance, and lifecycle management of network infrastructure.

NaaS explained

Network as a Service (NaaS) is a flexible way to consume enterprise network infrastructure that enables organizations to keep pace with innovation, meet rapidly changing business needs, and optimize network performance and user experiences through a cloud-like subscription model.

How does NaaS work?

Organizations have traditionally consumed enterprise network infrastructure via a one-time capital expenditure of hardware, software, licenses, and services that may or may not be packaged together. NaaS allows enterprises to consume and optionally outsource the full lifecycle of their enterprise network deployment, with all hardware, software, licenses, and services delivered in a flexible consumption or subscription-based offering, which in many cases can be accounted for as an operational expense.

NaaS also allows organizations to outsource the planning, deployment, and day-to-day operational management of the network, including software upgrades, monitoring and troubleshooting, as well as decommissioning and end-of-life support. Through this process, organizations get access to the latest and greatest technology while easing the burden on their IT staff.

NaaS (Network as a Service) Benefits

What does NaaS mean for Channel Partners?

NaaS lets your customers consume networking in a cloud-like manner, through monthly subscription payments with choices for flexible consumption. It also includes options for channel partners to co-design, implement and provide managed consulting without worrying about producing a down payment at the start of your customer’s service. Bottom line, NaaS helps partners bring their services to market faster than ever.

Read more about NaaS for partners

Why should I consider NaaS?

NaaS enables your organization to accelerate innovation by

  • Providing faster network technology refresh lifecycles through upcycling and/or recycling of equipment
  • Allowing more rapid deployments of new features and functionality
  • Keeping pace with the demands of today’s dynamic ecosystem of hardware and software technologies

NaaS provides the necessary flexibility to meet rapidly changing business dynamics by

  • Alleviating major capital investments required for large deployments with a subscription-based model
  • Simplifying operational complexity with a program customized your needs

NaaS also enables you to leverage the expertise of vendors like Aruba to optimize network performance and provide the best user experience through:

  • Consistent monitoring for performance and security, easing the management burden for resource-challenged organizations
  • Proactive management capabilities, with access to highly skilled networking experts dedicated and named specifically for your account
  • Proven network designs and configurations developed in conjunction with customers and industry experts

What’s the difference between NaaS, IaaS, and SaaS?

Software as a service (SaaS) applies to any software application delivered via the cloud as a subscription-based offering. SaaS spans across a variety of online applications utilized through the internet every day.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is defined as the use of any IT hardware and software infrastructure components like compute power or storage utilized through the cloud in a flexible consumption or subscription-based model. Like SaaS, it’s an all-inclusive category that can span the entire IT infrastructure portfolio from compute to storage to networks.

Network as a service (NaaS) is different from SaaS and IaaS because it is much more specific and relates directly only to networking functionality. Unlike SaaS and IaaS, it refers to only networking hardware, software, and services delivered in a “cloud-like” motion, which implies subscription-based or consumption-based billing. Sometimes the term is extended to include the overall day-to-day operations and management of a network environment by a 3rd party, such as the vendor or vendor partner.

Watch this video to learn more about the difference between NaaS, IaaS, and SaaS

Is NaaS funded via CAPEX or OPEX?

NaaS provides balance sheet flexibility. While it is primarily designed for OPEX consumption with the subscription-based model, all accounting practices differ within each organization. NaaS is often supported as an OPEX model from the CIO perspective, by aligning NaaS to an operational IT budget point of view. From the CFO perspective, it is typically a question related to financial statements. The benefit of NaaS is that it is a usage-based agreement delivering services for the OPEX point of view. For example, a simple NaaS SKU associated as a service-based delivered service could be more easily consumed from an OPEX perspective.

Does NaaS help sustainability efforts?

Sustainability is top of mind for many progressive organizations. Environmental concerns continue to mount given shorter lifecycle refreshes and greater technology debris. IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) management can be quite costly. Many organizations manage obsolete equipment in warehouses due to fears that company or personal information may be leaked when hardware components are recycled. Effective NaaS programs help alleviate these security- and cost-related fears. Repurposing equipment and proper disposal are important but costly. Sustainable reuse and retirement are key attributes of a NaaS offering and allow organizations to meet sustainability goals more easily.

The benefits of NaaS (Network as a Service)

  • Financing flexibility

    NaaS enables organizations to overcome traditional financial obstacles offering an alternative to upfront capital investments. The ability to pay as you grow is one of the key advantages of NaaS. The financing flexibility enables organizations to address today’s dynamic business climate where change can happen rapidly.

  • Enhanced security

    Faster deployment of new features and functions help enhance security for NaaS to ensure the network is in a good state of repair and lowers operational risk. NaaS provides the ability to meet line-of-business requirements to launch new services and capabilities faster. Extended services ensure optimal performance and keep organizations safe from security vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date equipment or configurations.

  • Proactive management

    NaaS deployments mitigate risks with proactive advisory and management capabilities. Proactive management capabilities often include AIOps (AI for IT Operations) driven insights, or highly skilled networking experts, to ensure the organization is maximizing its deployment with the latest product features, functions, or configurations. This proactive management approach is designed to optimize performance and operations, and to correct any issues before they cause an outage.

  • Scalable centralized management

    NaaS cloud management capabilities can provide cohesive management of network domains (data centers, enterprise campus, and WAN) to enable organizations to scale networks easily. Added managed services can be implemented to oversee all network operations.

  • Sustainability

    Effective NaaS programs help alleviate security and cost related fears associated with old hardware resources. Repurposing equipment and proper disposal are important but costly. Sustainable reuse and retirement are key attributes of a NaaS offering and allow organizations to meet sustainability goals more easily.

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