I got an opportunity to attend the NFD-32 event as a remote delegate. The two-day event was full of presentations on cutting-edge technologies related to networking.
Nile was one of the companies that impressed me with their innovative approach to technology and product offering.
Now ! if you do not know about Niles, it’s fine, as I didn’t know about them either.
However, it seems a disruptor in its own right.
It is a young startup that came out of stealth mode just last year-2022
And their unique product offering is Network-as-a-Service NaaS.
What is NaaS?
NaaS enables an enterprise to buy networking as a service rather than buying and maintaining its own networking hardware and software.
Does NaaS work for everyone?
Maybe not, and I bring this perspective to the blog’s conclusion. So stay tuned
What problem Nile is trying to solve?
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, enterprises face numerous network challenges. These include the extensive time and money spent on choosing and purchasing hardware and software, requiring certified technicians for installation and configuration, and the time-consuming tasks of network monitoring and troubleshooting. All these challenges contribute to increased operational expenditures (OpEx) and enterprise complexity.
The solution is Network-as-a-Service or NaaS.
As a NaaS provider Nile removes this complexity by bringing its hardware, software, and management solutions and running the network for you.
What is included in Nile’s NaaS?
The following slide from the Nile nicely summarizes everything Nile offers.
The package includes everything from wireline switches to wireless access points, sensors to security. But infrastructure is not everything; they will plan, design, deploy, and maintain the enterprise network, thus covering the complete life cycle.
Fig: Nile’s Solution- Ref: Nile
The benefits of NaaS are manifold. Firstly, it simplifies network operations by offloading Day 0 to Day N tasks, reducing the time and effort required for managing networks. This results in improved operational efficiency and reduced costs for enterprises. By leveraging NaaS, organizations can eliminate the complexities associated with traditional do-it-yourself (DIY) networks and focus on core business objectives.
Furthermore, NaaS enhances user experience through high network performance levels. It ensures network performance meets the required standards, providing end-users with a seamless and efficient connectivity experience.
Nile’s NaaS security has security by design, and the Zero Trust approach simplifies and enhances protection against advanced threats.
My take on Nile’s NaaS offering
Ok, I like Nile’s solution. Their technology is amazing, their operational model is impressive, and how they run the network in a zero-trust manner is highly secure.
There is a market where customers would like to outsource everything in networking to a 3rd party.
However, is it for everyone?
Let’s discuss if we can answer this!
The NaaS concept is inspired by the cloud concept. What cloud has done to computing, NaaS has the potential to do to networking.
Today any cloud offers a variation of offerings from IaaS to PaaS and SaaS
As you may understand, the success of the cloud is in offering a “variation” rather than a one-size-fits-all offering.
A company deciding between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS depends on multiple factors; for example, the skillsets it has to run and maintain an application.
In other words:
A company that does not want to run /maintain a virtual machine or an application will go with a SaaS offering; such a company does not care about the underlying infrastructure ( whether it runs on AWS or Azure etc.)
On the other hand, a company that has the resources and skillset to deploy and maintain the infrastructure may go for an IaaS or PaaS.
There is no absolute wrong or right way here. This will depend on the company’s skillsets and resources to decide which way to go.
To me, the Nile offering combines good products and good service. However, the only way to get the product is as a “total solution,” i.e., a Network-as-a-Service offering.
I am trying to draw NaaS in parallel with cloud offerings such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
Comparing it with the cloud, NaaS is more like a SaaS offering. That means the underlying infrastructure is like a black box for a customer.
To many customers, it is fine to consider the network as a black box. To a lot of others, it may not be what they want. For example, medium to large enterprises already have the skillset and resources to run their networks. Thus they would like full or partial control over the network instead of a NaaS offering.
Effectively Nile may miss a broader market that needs part of their solution.
- A customer may be interested in the technology but not the operation. They have the engineers to run the network efficiently.
- Some customers have the network already but would like to explore the security offering from Nile.
- Some would like to integrate their networks with the Nile portal for management to take advantage of Nile’s management and analytics.
- Nile uses sensors to collect data from the network, which helps them in smart troubleshooting. There would be an interest in the market to buy that part only.
Can Nile address the different segments as above?
OK, strictly, the above market is not a NaaS, which is not what Nile stands for!
However, Nile can package a variation of their NaaS offering; they can address a boarder market. Nile can keep the As-a-service part but more modular and part offering rather than a total NaaS.
This would require Nile to think out of the box and package its NaaS offering for different market segments in different ways.
This would also eliminate the fear of vendor lock-in. Buying end-to-end NaaS solution from one vendor.
In short, Cloud was successful not because of a one-size-fits-all offering but multiple options, whether SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS, that suit different customer segments with different skill sets. There is room to bring that variation in NaaS as well.
Disclaimer: This is my own analysis. The vendor did not ask for nor were they promised any consideration in the writing of this post. This is not a sponsored post. My conclusions here represent my own thoughts and opinions.