Top 5 Reasons Why Everyone is Talking About NaaS

By Cathy Won, Marketing Consultant, HPE
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Network as-a-Service (NaaS) has been around as an industry term for many years. Most people immediately think of compute power and storage when it comes to Everything as-a-Service (XaaS) or Infrastructure as-a-Service (IaaS). Why is NaaS the latecomer to the mix? What has changed? I’ve had the great opportunity to talk to a variety of industry experts and the brilliant minds within HPE Aruba, and the collective thoughts come down to these top five reasons.

The Shifting Network Landscape

Organizations traditionally invested significant resources in IT specialists to design, build, and operate internal networks. The task was a very labor-intensive experience for connecting everyone with physical in-house devices accessing centralized applications within a data center. Network hardware had to be procured, pre-staged, cabled, installed, and configured to provide users inside an enterprise office using dedicated in-house devices to connect to on-premise networks. This was all required to gain access to enterprise applications inside the data center.

Today, almost all of these conditions and elements have changed. There are several shifts that have changed the dynamics of the traditional operation of internal networks.

1.  Workplace shift

For quite some time, laptops and mobile devices have enabled users to conveniently access enterprise applications from outside the office and onto non-enterprise networks (cellular, home broadband). The current Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated wider adoption of the shift to the hybrid workplace with many people forced to work from home.

2.  Device shift

The emergence of bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile devices owned by users are being used to access and use enterprise applications. The shift from dedicated enterprise devices has changed to devices no longer owned by organizations. Today an end user can do work from a plethora of home devices, even their smart watches.

3.  Technology shift

Due to the shift in the workplace and the shift in device usage, the need for direct connection to on-premise networks has changed. Cellular, WAN, and SD-WAN solutions have changed connectivity to on-premise networks.

4.  Application hosting shift

The development and adoption of SaaS has removed the requirement to gain direct access to enterprise applications within an enterprise network. The movement of internal applications and cloud solutions for enterprises pushed applications out of the organizational IT hands and out of the enterprise data center. Today web-based applications enable anytime and anywhere access.

While today’s enterprise on-premise network is predominantly still being designed, built, and operated by the IT organization, the procurement methodology is evolving. With enterprises embracing public cloud and the shifts in workplace, devices, and technology, the corporate network perimeter has essentially disappeared. Competitive pressures are forcing organizations to focus on their core business competencies rather than the network. This is requiring IT personnel to change the legacy way of procuring, designing, building, and running networks to one that is more agile and dynamic. With the growing complexities of security concerns, all too often, organizations find themselves distracted away from strategic workloads reacting to network problems. Resource time and expenses are often spent on troubleshooting, determining root causes, and remediating the latest event or attack on a network.

5.  Covid-19

Finally, there are no surprises here. Covid-19 brings another reason for highlighting the new demand for NaaS, in addition to expanding the shift in workplace. The impact of as-a-Service models are providing organizations with the financial flexibility to achieve continued business objectives without requiring significant capital investments all around, whether it is for compute, storage or network resources. Covid-19 has impacted organizations to preserve their cash. HPE Aruba COO, Vishal, speaks about this in his interview with CRN.

Interested in learning more? Read more about HPE Aruba NaaS.