The move towards as a service models (AAS) within IT has been an unstoppable and inevitable transition - the way that enterprises consume key applications has moved from traditional on premise solutions, towards those that are hosted in the cloud and are consumed on a AAS model, with Salesforce and Microsoft 365 being the most obvious examples.
Infrastructure is rapidly following this trend, and the recent issues highlighted as a result of COVID-19 have demonstrated the limitations of the status-quo, and the need for networking solutions to follow and be delivered on a AAS model.
Key Components of a Network As A Service (NAAS) Model
Cloud-driven networking must be at the heart of any NAAS model. A cloud-based model, where networking applications are operations hosted in the cloud, delivers a number of key benefits:
- Simplicity - Traditionally, customers may have managed the installation and operation of hardware, power, cabling, upgrades, backups, migrations and redundancy. The cloud eases the demands of traditional deployment models by shifting this burden to the cloud and service provider, so IT teams can focus on solving business problems.
- Resiliency – In addition to simplifying system management, a cloud provider also should guarantee to provide greater than 99.999 percent uptime. Cloud solutions are built on top of hyper- reliable infrastructure and platform architectures offered by trusted cloud operators like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
- Scalability – Scale refers to growth, but also changes that drive a network. For example, expanding or changing client device or user populations, new business requirements, spikes in events/alarms, adding locations/ sites, new data visibility, reporting requirements, or simply logging in more frequently. The cloud replaces the fixed resourcing model of on-premise hardware and addresses scalability by using elastic and flexible resources. These can be closely monitored and integrated with automation tools that can be dynamically scaled up and down as capacity requirements change.
- Costs - Economies of scale offered by cloud provide opportunities for lower costs, which are also easier to predict and manage as licences are typically sold in a linear manner, avoiding unpredictable and lumpy cap-ex models.
- Autonomous Networking - The compute and data processing capability in the cloud, is far greater than anything that can be achieved on premise; offering the ability for huge number crunching that can take in feeds from users, devices, network switches and wireless access points. This, combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence, allows the cloud to make pro-active recommendations and automated changes around network configurations, and always ensure optimum end user experience.
Unless optimally configured and deployed, technology will never realise the full benefits of why it was procured in the first place.
To unlock the technological advances offered in networking, an end user organisation should ensure that they partner with a service provider that has the required specialised knowledge to realise the full benefits of the suite. This knowledge must extend to an eco-system of solutions that provide cross platform benefits within the network.
Regular communication between service provider and customer is essential to ensure that network operations map to required business processes, as these change during a given investment lifecycle.
Pro-active trend analysis should be in place via 24/7 monitoring - this insight will be the bedrock of an evidence-based approach to network development, which is being optimised continually to ensure the best possible end user experience.
In the event that something goes wrong, issues need to be resolved quickly and efficiently, with clear and concise steps to incident resolution - these need to be fully documented to the customer through service reviews and reporting.
A flexible way of procuring AAS networking must be available. With this in mind, the metrics of how network services are consumed will be unique to each service provider and customer, but by the very nature must be flexible to allow services to be easily scaled up and down in an annuity based model. For Public Sector organisations, if delivered correctly, the procurement model will offer the ability to claim back VAT - a further cost efficiency.
The benefits of NAAS Approach
Charterhouse are at the forefront of the AAS approach. Our AAS models are already successfully deployed, across key vendors such as 8x8 and Mitel, across the globe. Through the strategic acquisition of NETconnection, we have a data networking pedigree that dates back to 1998.
The combination of our consumption-based approach to delivering our solutions, and our data networking expertise, provides our customers with the optimum platform to fully realise the benefits of a Network As A Service solution (NAAS).
When delivered correctly, a NAAS approach will realise the following benefits:
Please get in touch today so we can provide insight into this rapidly growing field and how we can add value to your business.