Definition

network-as-a-service (NaaS)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: SDN basics for service providers

Network-as-a-service (NaaS) is a business model for delivering network services virtually over the Internet on a pay-per-use or monthly subscription basis.

From the customer's point of view, the only thing required to create an information technology (IT) network is one computer, an Internet connection and access to the provider's NaaS portal. This concept can be appealing to new business owners because it saves them from spending money on network hardware and the staff it takes to manage a network in-house. In essence, the network becomes a utility, paid for just like electricity or water or heat. Because the network is virtual, all its complexities are hidden from view.

NaaS isn't a new concept, but its deployment has been hindered by some of the same concerns that have affected other cloud computing services -- especially questions about the provider's ability to guarantee high availability (HA). Other concerns include dealing with service level agreements (SLAs), compliance issues related to data sovereignty and the possibility of vendor lock-in.

This Professor Messer training video explains how the NaaS business model might work.

See also: managed service provider, cloud provider

This was last updated in July 2013

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