Following consumers’ mass adoption of subscription services — accelerated by technological advancements and the advent of Covid-19 — the ‘as-a-service’ model of consumption has grown in popularity among enterprises in the last decade.
Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) is the continuation of the trend towards renting, rather than owning infrastructure and applications. This shift has resulted in enterprises being more flexible with their expenditure and increased agility as digital transformation rolls on.
We’ve traced the current network infrastructure challenges and why NaaS is the best solution to these problems. As enterprises evolve and connectivity is more important than ever, it’s clear that the NaaS model reaps the most benefits.
Issues with current network
Even though we are the most technologically advanced we’ve ever been, most enterprise functions still require physical hardware such as switches and routers and an MPLS network to transport data to-and-from endpoints within the data centre or across the internet.
This means owning or renting expensive pieces of hardware that will eventually become obsolete and being locked into multi-year contracts for a bandwidth-specific circuit.
Besides, provisioning network services routinely requires several months, which keeps networking planned and budgeted as a fixed capital cost needing to be apportioned over lengthy periods.
Physical networks are built using fibre and copper trunks, switches and routers. Most are built by network operators, although some large enterprises build their own. In most cases, a private ‘slice’ of the network will be rented from the service provider.
The main drawback of these “closed systems” is that they are made up of several layered generations of technology fraught with operational complexity, vendor lock-in, growing maintenance costs, and slow innovation due to a lack of flexibility.
But the promise of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) breaks this paradigm — not just for the operators who build the networks, but for the enterprise users too.
NFV enables closed networks to be redesigned as various software functions running on commodity servers, while SDN separates and centralises the network control software from the network traffic forwarding function, both of which enable a new model of orchestration — real-time network service provisioning and optimisation through software programmability.
This centralised software-defined control function enables the creation and consumption of network services in an on-demand fashion we’ve come to expect from the cloud.
Moreover, with specialist interconnection platforms such as PCCW Global’s Console Connect, provisioning of networks is now possible on-demand and in real-time.
NaaS is cost-effective and secure
NaaS has a lower cost structure since businesses can now park this expense under operations costs (OPEX), where enterprises can purchase services on a need-to basis rather than capital expenditure (CAPEX). The latter can sometimes result in businesses stuck in a capacity they don’t need.
It also offers a greater degree of operational automation with better capabilities to architect and creates new services. This way, enterprises are no longer bound by their direct relationship with the network provider and access the entire cloud ecosystem.
As the public cloud becomes the primary host for an increasing number of mission-critical applications, network demands for security, speed and agility are growing rapidly.
NaaS can solve these problems with business-critical connections that are simple, secure and flexible. The service is accessible when you need them and for however long you need them.
Ethernet connections are provisioned directly by the user in a customer portal, bypassing the traditional manual service delivery processes and shrinking timeframes from weeks to minutes.
It gives businesses full control of the network assets and the ability to flex bandwidth requirements up and down in real-time.
This, in turn, gives greater control over cost, giving businesses the option to choose per-hour pricing plans much as they do with cloud services or fixed-term contract durations.
NaaS becomes a more efficient option than relying on WANs (Wide Area Network) that require constant maintenance and often create bottlenecks for network traffic — something extremely prescient with a shift to remote working as cloud traffic is hair pinned back through the corporate WAN.
Introducing the Console Connect platform
As a pioneering NaaS platform, Console Connect enables enterprises to connect to global data centres, clouds, applications and business partners in a more simple, fast and secure way.
This gives the network the same flexibility as the cloud, in which enterprises can self-provision high-speed network connections on-demand, and manage and monitor them in real-time.
Another benefit of NaaS is the global reach offered by the PCCW Global network. The platform is underpinned by PCCW Global’s leading MPLS network, enabling organisations to turn up layer 2 connectivity on-demand between over 650 data centres in more than 50 countries.
Businesses can access this high-performance network using a Console Connect Access Port, which can also directly interconnect their business to every major public cloud provider.
The platform is also home to a growing ecosystem of business partners and can securely connect to Internet Exchanges, SaaS providers, IoT partners and other NaaS platforms.
No maintenance costs and a fast set-up
Moreover, businesses that use the service do not have to bear maintenance costs. The network provider owns and maintains the network, managing software and hardware upgrades — a perk that takes a load of businesses’ back.
Another reason to choose Console Connect is how fast the network can be set up. Businesses can connect to data centres, business partners, distributed IT infrastructure, and the world’s major public clouds in a matter of minutes.
One of the concerns of any network is security. With NaaS, businesses are put at ease with greater security as it is possible to tightly integrate networking services and security services like firewalls which simplify management as well.
The last thing is cost control. Instead of building your own services, purchasing services can result in cost savings as enterprises do not need to purchase and maintain hardware. This way, capacity can be increased, decreased, and moved around the network as required, giving more granular cost control.
We live in a thriving digital economy, where you can order food to your location, stream a film or arrange a taxi to arrive in minutes. There’s no reason why the same experience can’t apply to network connectivity, particularly when connecting to the cloud where many business-critical workloads now reside.
NaaS platforms, such as Console Connect, solve a crucial part of the puzzle in making your digital assets a strategic advantage. You can learn more about Console Connect here and sign up for the app here.
This article was written in collaboration with Console Connect.
Featured Image Credit: Console Connect