News & Analysis

Watch out for NaaS, MCNS, says Gartner

The market research agency has listed out a few key network innovations that could potentially impact the tech industry in 2023 and beyond

Gartner believes that multi-cloud networking software (MCNS) and network-as-a-service (NaaS) could be the bedrock around which future network innovations would be built. In addition,  the universal zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and NetDevOps, would jointly impact the tech industry in 2023 and beyond. 

Analyst Andrew Lerner told delegates at a recent infrastructure and operations cloud strategies conference that true innovation requires risk taking and blazing new trails while also keeping one’s eyes open to new concepts and ideas. 


What’s the future for MCNS?

While enterprises acquire MCNS and install it on cloud environments, often these purchase decisions are driven by a need for some networking features that aren’t available natively on the cloud environment such as AWS or Azure. He points to examples such as route encryption or enhanced troubleshooting capabilities. 

Sometimes, the companies acquire it because they want some consistent stack across multiple environments so they do not have to get three different sets of networking stacks to work with, Lerner said while pointing to the likes of MCNS vendors such as  Alkira, Arrcus, Aviatrix, Cohesive Networks, Cisco, F5, Nefeli Networks, Prosimo, and VMware. 

All of these vendors offer an entire suite of MCNS capabilities though none has managed to put all of it completely together. However, the fact remains that a lot of interesting things are happening, he says, pointing to a Gartner research that predicts a 30% increase in the number of customers using MCNS for multiple functions. 


Clearing the cobwebs around NaaS

On the NaaS front, Lerner sought to clarify that this shouldn’t be perceived as a technology but a new style or a delivery mechanism. One must perceive NaaS the same way as one sees SaaS whereby one could set up firewalls via NaaS or even a router, or for setting an entire networking function within an enterprise. 

The Gartner official says the actual challenge emerges when vendors tend to describe everything as NaaS though half of the time it actually isn’t so. “Offerings that require a custom statement of work, a complicated bill of materials, or hardware purchases are probably not true NaaS,” says Lerner. 

The market research agency says enterprises could use NaaS if they have highly variable network usage with no desire to own it. Additionally, if they are low on IT resources and can find a turnkey and single vendor offering focused on software and delivered via the cloud, it makes sense to sign up. Gartner sees a 15% spike in NaaS adoption by the end 2024. 


Gartner’s favorite child SASE

Coming to SASE or secure-access-service-edge, Gartner believes that the market size would touch $9.2 billion in 2023, which marks a nearly 40% increase year-on-year. This would be possible as more than 80% of enterprises would have adopted a strategy to unify the web, cloud services and private application access using a SASE / SSE architecture by 2025. 

In fact, it was Gartner that coined the term SASE in 2019 as a tech framework for the convergence of  network access and security in cloud-native environments. Gartner now recommends enterprises invest in SASE products “opportunistically at refresh if you’re increasingly leveraging cloud services,” 

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