Breaking Down Networking as a Service (NaaS) with Mobius Partners

Breaking Down Networking as a Service (NaaS) with Mobius Partners

Show Video

To all welcome to our first broadcast of Knowledge  as a Service (KaaS) Series, where we provide   technical experts to our customers, where we  discuss interesting topics, emerging technologies   and other things that might be helpful for your  organization. Or maybe just something that you   were curious about. I'm Shannon Gillenwater, Director  of Technology from Mobius Partners, I've been   working in technology, providing solutions to our  clients for over 20 years with primarily focusing   focus in networking and security. And I am joined  by my colleague, Kyle, good morning to you, sir.  

Good morning, Shannon. Hi, everybody,  Kyle Houston with Mobius.   Like, Shannon, I've been in the industry for  quite a while, a little over 20 years now.   mainly focused on on datacenter  and software defined data center,   and worked with a number of  customers and a number of vendors.   Right, let's not build the expectations too  high. Let's let it grow organically as we move   along here. So today, we aren't joining  to talk about network gadget services,   right. So of course, these days, pretty  much everything is available as a service,  

right? We have infrastructure as a service,  SaaS, platform as a service, right?   Storage as a service. And, of course, we've got  all the cloud providers out there - like Azure,   and AWS, and Google and the rest of the  usual suspects. But we really haven't seen   networking as a service take off, or  really even now be introduced until   just very recently. And so when we talk about as  a service, one of the two key components of that   that really makes it as a service, in our opinion,  is that it's elastic, right? So I can scale up.   And I can scale down, and I'm only paying for what  I'm actually using. So those are the two really  

key components for something to be as a service  for us. And we're not just talking about a lease.   And we're not just talking about managed services,  you know, an MSP provider. So you know, we're   truly meaning that you're paying for what you're  using. And it's not just a financial vehicle.  

you still have to have, a physical network at  your location. Now, if you go into the cloud,   obviously, you could do as a service there, but  they own the entire stack. And it's more of a   basically everything as a service when you talk  about cloud, right. But if you want to get into  

some of that same functionality on prem, or even  in a colo, or something that you're managing, it's   really kind of hard because you do  have to have that dedicated hardware and stack. So   don't confuse, network as a service  with software defined networking - SDN.   Software Defined Networking is a way to do that  with overlay underlay, but that's more of a   complex scenario. And unless you're doing  some very complex things with networking,  

with self service and automation, etc. Then it may be a little too much.    So luckily, we're seen a couple vendors  doing some capabilities around NaaS,   where you can still manage and everything and I have to put everything in the cloud or go SDN route. Sure, ultimately, I've got put my PC in  somewhere, right? I got to have a switch to   plug in for my laptop or, if I'm doing Wi Fi  right, ultimately, I've got to have some radios   in my building to get myself connected. So the  networking is a little bit different than those   other technology stacks up because I  do have that physical requirement.   Regardless of how I might want to  configure it and use my network.   

and certainly we have software defined networking  these days, but it has been the last of the   technology stacks to undergo massive adoption for  software defined. Obviously in the compute right   with virtualization, especially as VMware right  so, you know, organizations are probably 95%   or higher virtualized these days, we see  that in the storage. We see that with   other areas of technology. But we really  haven't seen as much adoption of software   defined networking. Certainly several  solutions out there from the big players,   no doubt with VMware and Cisco and  others. But, we haven't   seen that true enterprise wide adoption of networking in the service, which I think also   explained some of the lack of networking as a  service options that we've seen out there. 

And what we have seen to those providers  come into the marketplace, as Kyle had   mentioned. And the two do have slightly different  approaches. One of those, it's you're getting the,   you're paying for the number of appliances, the  number of switches and access points that your   organization needs. And you can choose whether to  manage those yourself, or let them manage   them, but you are not paying for upfront  acquisition costs. And you can also own the management,

The other provider, they actually do  provide all the equipment, which is their own version of switches and APs which they have developed So for them you would have to get their equipment and they do manage it - that is not an option Thiers is even more interesting because it's truly as a service and you're paying per user So as you hire more employees you pay more per month for that platform. an then as you scale down as we have seen with the pandemic then you're going to be paying less You'll be paying less because you have fewer users so they have a true scale down per user cost. Which is pretty interesting that they brought this to the networking realm. Why would you consider as a business? What would be the benefits of that vs. doing what we've always done? Talk with our partners like Möbius and figure out what the solution will be, buy the gear, get help installing and maybe even help managing and monitoring As a lot of the other as a service things, it does have the benefit of no upfront capital outlay, no upfront acquisition costs. So you're moving everything to  an OpEx versus CapEx, which, especially with   publicly traded organizations, they certainly  liked that financial model versus the CapEx.  

And so in that respect, it is a lot like leasing,  giving you those benefits, not buying it upfront   and paying for it each month, over time. But it  also helps our customers get out of the networking   business. So if they don't have to buy the gear,  and they don't have to install it, and they don't   have to manage it right there. They're getting out of the networking business. And obviously,   companies don't open up and start offering products and services wanting to be  a networking company... The networking is something necessary for the businesses to run But it really shouldn't be the primary  focus for them. So with other areas, it allows them to be less involved in the technology business and more focused on whatever it is that they're trying to bring to market for their customers.

I like to liken this as sort of making  this very much like utility, right? Where   you pay for it, and it's going to work much like  electricity, you don't have to go in there and   create the generators and turbines and  everything to build your own electricity.   You just expect it to work. And that's very  much what network as a service is like in that   you don't like Shannon said you're no longer in  the business of doing networking for yourself.   You can just pay for networking utility. Absolutely, although myself and probably a   lot of others last year, were considering their  own turbines to get some electricity during those   cold winter months. That week that we endured.  So certainly a something that crossed my mind.  

But for sure, yeah, we that's really how a lot  of technology should be for businesses these   days. It's you pay for utility, just like you  need for any other things for your business.   And you shouldn't have to become steep in  that and hire entire groups of people to   enable your business to operate. And those things  aren't core to your value add as a company,   which is where the elasticity part does come  in. Right? It helps you match your spend to  

your business needs and very directly. So that  elasticity is that scale up and scale down. In the   past, folks really never thought about network  scaling down. It's not something that really   happens very often. Sure you could have a business  maybe that's struggling or downsizing based on   changes in their particular market. Generally  speaking, the networks are always being upgraded   and need to go faster and provide more features  and capabilities, more bandwidth, of course,   always. But we did see that change recently with  the pandemic. So suddenly, we had everybody not   going to the office and you're working from home  and I know who our customers were, they actually   stayed with that working model and came up with  different flex schedules, and actually ended up   getting rid of several of their locations or  downsizing their footprint introducing location,   because of that change and workstyle. And so,  there truly was a need for the ability to scale  

down networks as a result of that. If you had  been someone who was on the leading forefront of   networking as a service, you would have had the  advantage of being able to reduce your your spend   and your networking footprint to reflect  that without giving up all the investments   that have been made in all of your networking  gear. Another interesting benefit you can get   from this is evergreen, as we like to call it  in technology these days, Evergreen networking,   says, we're just talking about right to,  you always want to upgrade the network,   you always want more bandwidth, not faster,  you want more features, you want more security,   and certainly those things are always being  evolving and changing in the networking stack.  

And so if you don't own the equipment, and it's  been provided and operated for you, and as those   generational changes occur in technologies,  and you have the opportunity to have those   switched out in and upgraded to the newest access  point or switch or whatever the case may be   your business so you can take advantage of  those things. And so that the ability to have   Evergreen technology around networking, certainly  becomes a an advantage for an organization. It   doesn't mean you have to, you know, upgrade  whatever the next thing comes out. But when   that does happen in the next generation of Wi Fi seven, for example, when that comes out in a   couple of years, and certainly we're on WiFi 6E,  as they call it. So new and Wi Fi seven happens,  

three years from now, or whenever that rolls out, that would   be an option for customers who are networking  as a service to get to that new platform. It saves a lot of time, having to research  newer technologies and stuff, right? If you   just rely on the on the vendor who does networking  day in and day out, and that's their specialty,   and you just say yes, I want to I want your  service, and just keep me up to date. And then   you don't have to worry about that, or whatever  the newness is, whether it's Wi Fi 6 vs Wi Fi 7.  

It also allows you to get more of the cloud like  feel in that. Everything is as a service like you   would in a public cloud without having to rely  on the public cloud, right? There's lots of   organizations that have restrictions  on where data can reside. And there's a lot of,   financial or medical or things like  that, where they just don't trust the data being   out of the cloud, they need to keep keep a hold of it. And so that's one way to this is one way to further the cloud, like experience, but stay on prem.

Absolutely. Often businesses in organizations  want to upgrade their technology, whether that's   the network or storage, or compute or any other  part of the environment. And usually, you know,   cost is one of the inhibiting factors  to guide really liked that, that new,   great shiny things I know, it's out of my budget  this year. If you're subscribing to a service,   where the cost of that is already rolled in. And it's up to you when the next version rolls out,   right. And that's no longer the cost is no longer  the reason you're making the decision to do it,  

you're choosing to deal with those interruptions in service when it comes to upgrades. But   you get to choose when that happens. And cost  is removed from the consideration. If you do it   when it's time for your business to benefit from  whatever those new features and capabilities are.  

But that doesn't mean it's a fit for all  businesses and organizations. So there's some of   the same challenges for networking as a service as  any of the other ones out there. But and even as   compared to just say, a managed service provider.  And particularly, that's going to be things like  

if you have really complex networking needs in your environment, that's probably not going to be   a fit for network as a service, just like it  probably wouldn't be a fit for managed services.   Obviously, there's some amount of standardization  and limitations that you're going to be able   to get from having a third party, configuring & managing your environment. So if you have really   complex networking needs, then that might not be  an option for you. But as we mentioned earlier,   one of the providers that we we have  seen they provide the gear for a monthly cost   but you have a choice of them managing  or you managing. And so in that instance,   you could potentially still do it with those guys  should, you would still be managing it yourself.   And you're really just getting the equipment as a  monthly fee, and necessarily all of the management   and monitoring, like the other provider that we've  seen out there. Also, just like with cloudy stuff,  

if you operate in a high security environment,  then NaaS is probably less attractive to you,   which doesn't mean it can't be done securely. But  just obviously, there's more risks with having   third parties operate in an environment.  And so you may have security requirements,   you may have contractual requirements, we have  regulatory requirements that you make that more   of a challenge, just like it does with cloud  based services, as Kyle was mentioning, so   anytime you have other people with their hands in  the machinery. Security does become a concern. So   maybe a bit more challenging for those businesses,  where their security posture is a little   more rigid. Also, we have to think  about things like rate of change. So   if your network is changing a lot, and  you're constantly making changes to it and   configuring things, then, maybe it's  not going be a good fit for you.   Because it implies that you're relying upon  someone else to implement those changes.  

So it may slow down the speed of business that you  want to operate at when you're putting in requests   to other folks to make changes for you. And that  it's the same with other models, like managed   service providers, right, where everything's a  ticket to them to get things done. versus you   having a network engineer on staff who can just  log in and make changes on the fly, which happens   a lot. But also, I would recommend the rapid  changes on the fly. As you' probably have heard   70% of most problems are caused by people, not  the technology. So always good keep in mind.   That number is pretty low. Yeah, and it's  pretty high as it is already. And you're right,   it probably could be higher, and  it fluctuates over the years. But  

that is one of the things that we've seen in  technologies that the root cause analysis that   people and unauthorized changes are just unknown  changes can be very problematic for businesses.   Similar to that, also, the time to repair  right (TTR) you are having networking issues,   and maybe the networking, the network itself isn't  even the source of the problem. But you know, if   you're having a network issue, or you're needing  to use the network to troubleshoot an issue,   if you're working through a third party to  make that happen through the person or say   the organization that's managing your network,  right? So it can slow down your troubleshooting   efforts in the environment. So that is something  to consider as well, just like what changes in   your slower than no troubleshooting is  gonna be a little bit more difficult and   slower to get the information you might need as  you're working on problems in the environment. So   something to consider as well. But certainly  NaaS is real, it is here today with us,  

could be a fit for your business. So if you have  questions about that, reach out to us, let us   help you in making that assessment and figuring  out if it's the right fit for you. And if so,   who might be the best solution provider  for you to accomplish that? Do we have   any questions from our folks in the cyberspace  that we'd like to bubble up into the session?   We do have a couple. Does that mean they're also  responsible for the security of my network?   So I'll give the half answer of Yes. But so they  are definitely going to be instrumental to the   security of your network, right? Because  they're managing and making the changes for   you. But it certainly doesn't alleviate your  responsibility for security. But ultimately,  

security is still going to be owned by  you. And we'll be part of that. But also,   a lot of times in their heads folks,  combined Networking and Security together,   which you're probably in the early days, that was  usually the case no, security was always a network   based assumption, right? The first security  thing being the firewall at the edge and right so   a lot of times folks don't want security and  network things together. Security is everywhere   in every part of the environment, both in the  hardware and the software and processes. And so   from that perspective, you can't look at managed  networking as a service to also be providing   you with the security you need, you still need to  separately ask yourself what are my security needs   and how am I providing those network is certainly  a part of that but certainly not all of that.  

Any others out there? Or do  I miss anything there?   No, I think I think you nailed it. It'll offset  some of the security stuff. But obviously the   bulk is going to rely on you. You are the last  line of defense, you're the one that's going to   be ultimately responsible at the end. But they  can definitely help on the networking side.   Any other questions out there? One more question.   Does this mean that I need to  replace my existing network?   Yes, that's maybe not in all cases. But for  the most part, the answer to that is yes.  

Which maybe does make it seem more daunting.  But as I mentioned, like with blue providers,   if they provide their own equipment that  they have actually designed to manufacture   it. So those guys, no doubt, you have to get  their gear and have to have the management.   The other ones, you know, they're providing things  that you choose yourself, but it's still coming   from their portfolio of products. So your choices  are still limited to what they offer within their  

program. But still, ultimately, it  really does mean that you will be   replacing gear for both of those models. And so  you really have to a time it. It's best to time it   such that you're ready to do your next  generation of upgrade and the network. But that's   because it's it's aging out to end of life support  or maybe it's because you're moving locations,   opening new locations. So the same turning points  in your business. The technology lifecycle that   you would be upgrading the replacement devices  is the perfect time to consider it and approach   NaaS. To take advantage of that. But the  short answer is yes, you probably have to   upgrade and replace the networking components. And  something I didn't mention earlier on is that so  

far, what we've seen with networking as a service  is geared towards the campus LAN. So this switches   and access points where the end users connect  there. So far, we haven't really seen as much   offering in the data center, which doesn't mean  it probably won't evolve to include that. But  

the first round of offerings that we've seen out  there really for the campus LAN, not from the data   center itself. Thanks for joining us, everybody.  If you have suggestions for future topics,   email us at Also, you  can follow us on LinkedIn for more information.   Thanks a lot for joining and enjoy your  day. Thanks for watching everyone.

2022-09-29 04:24

Show Video

Other news