Eating carrots can improve your vision; you’ll catch a cold if you go outside without a coat; if you pull out a gray hair, two will grow in its place – whether you consider these to be common myths, alternative facts, or just plain fake news, they certainly aren’t helping you to make good decisions about your health. Just like with your health, cutting through popular myths to make good decisions for your business is both essential and daunting! When it comes to the mythology around complicated IT concepts such as data networking, we need all of the help we can get!
This blog post talks about myths surrounding Network as a Service (or “NaaS” for short). If you’re not sure what NaaS is, then a great place to start is by reading the post that my colleague Bryan Ting has written as an introduction to Software-Defined Networking (SD-WAN).
Myth 1: NaaS is the same as SD-WAN
While we often use the terms NaaS and SD-WAN interchangeably, they are not actually the same thing. SD-WAN is a term that describes a means of abstracting paths across a network and controlling them from a single dashboard. It means that your network paths are controlled less by specific devices that are tied to real world locations, and instead are controlled centrally, allowing them to be modified quickly and removing some dependencies on network providers.
But NaaS is so much more. In fact, SD-WAN can be thought-of as one of several important components that make up NaaS. Other components can include security services, reporting and analytics, SLAs, hybrid WAN, and bandwidth on demand. A good way to think about NaaS is that it’s a foundation on which many traditional network appliances can be delivered “as a service.”
Myth 2: Cost is the only benefit of NaaS
Cost is not the only reason for adding NaaS to your wheelhouse, but it’s still a huge benefit! Other notable benefits of NaaS include:
Increasing flexibility and performance
Controlling network topology from a single dashboard
Quickly deploying new services (security, etc.)
Using connectivity from multiple providers
Accessing state-of-the-art analytics and reporting
Myth 3: NaaS takes the place of QoS
QoS has historically been a powerful tool for managing bandwidth on next generation networks, however, in today’s gig economy bandwidth is king and the Internet is his scepter. NaaS enables your business to take advantage of QoS-enabled networks when appropriate, but it also provides tools, such as QoE and Internet offload, that remove the necessity for QoS in a number of cases.
Many of my clients have observed over the past few years that while they still require some QoS-enabled services such as voice and video, the majority of their networking traffic (cloud services, storage, browsing, etc.) is bound for the Internet. NaaS enables them to offload this traffic majority to local Internet connections, while maintaining a smaller, more finely tuned QoS-enabled WAN for critical services only. In this way, NaaS works with a QoS-enabled WAN to ensure that traffic flows via the optimal path and with the optimal priority.