Cloud networking on the rise, but can NaaS gain traction?

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

More than two in five (45%) of respondents to a Spiceworks survey admit they are using cloud networking tools in their business, or are going to push forward with it within 12 months.

The survey results, of 500 IT professionals, were collected in a report entitled “The Cloudification of the Network”, produced in association with cloudy networking solutions provider Pertino.

Of course, the more cynical and world-weary CloudTech readers will have worked out the message in this survey given Spiceworks and Pertino both deal in cloud networking technology. Yet on the flip side, more than half of companies aren’t interested in cloud networking software until at least 2015.

Networking, however, has arguably been the most important topic of conversation at this year’s VMworld conference, according to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. This comes amidst the virtualisation experts launching NSX, its latest network virtualisation tool, moving forward from server virtualisation with ESX.

The report, however, notes that the cloud networking game is starting to change, stating that “while some network services like content filtering and DNS have been running in the cloud forever, some of the more advanced infrastructure offerings are just now coming into play.”

It’s not all bad news, however, with nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents admitting they are ‘familiar’ with cloud networking.

The key reasons for planning a networking strategy, according to the survey, are easier management capability (68%), anywhere access (58%) and the option of disaster recovery (51%).

In the increasingly ‘as-a-service’ age, the concept of DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) is a legitimate one, and gaining ground all the time. ReadWrite’s Scott Geng opined back in March that, after SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, three more sub-services will reveal themselves; DRaaS, along with desktop as a service (DaaS) and metal as a service (MaaS).

The concept of virtual desktop infrastructure and DaaS has been examined recently. Cloud hosting provider NaviSite, in its survey of 700 executives back in July, revealed that, for 42% of respondents employees were the biggest advocates of virtual desktops.

The desire is certainly there. Yet can network as a service (NaaS) join those three nascent services?

Spiceworks will hope so, of course – and there were still some interesting statistics buried deep down in the report.

Cost (87%) was perhaps unsurprisingly the most popular determining factor when selecting a vendor, followed by data protection (70%) and the vendor’s feature set (67%). Primary concerns included the risk of a security breach (61%) followed by lack of control over infrastructure (53%).

So what’s Spiceworks’ closing statement to convince its readers cloud networking is for everyone? The report concludes: “For a young start-up, cloud networking can provide a scalable infrastructure without all the network gear and headaches.

“For old dogs looking for a few new tricks, cloud-based networking tools can help reduce the burden of providing services like content filtering and DNS.”

It’s certainly an interesting report, and even if the numbers aren’t quite as high as the companies would have wanted, one imagines that NaaS will be a topic written about increasingly more in the near future.

What do you think about cloud networking technology today? The Spiceworks report can be found here.

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