Seven months after launching its Network as-a-Service, WAN optimization vendor Aryaka said it now has more than 100 customers using the NaaS package. The company rolled out the cloud-based NaaS last October, touting it as a lower-cost alternative to dedicated point-to-point, IP or Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) links.
Starting at $1400 for two locations at 2 Mbps, Aryaka's Network as-a-Service is built on the same platform as the vendor's existing WAN Optimization as a Service product. Sonal Puri, Aryaka's vice president of sales, marketing and alliances, said the NaaS offering is tailored for encrypted or pre-compressed applications and integrated cloud services access. To use the service, enterprises need only connect their routers to an existing Aryaka point-of-presence (POP). Once connected, the network can be made operational within minutes, as opposed to the weeks or months it might take to provision a Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) link.
Network as-a-Service makes Aryaka a stealth competitor. … [They] get props for a service that is somewhat different from what major competitors offer.
research director, Current Analysis
The service is aimed particularly at midsize enterprises, but it can be used by any company, Puri said. "The Aryaka suite of services was built with the midmarket enterprise in mind. That's the underserved market size we hope to grow out. Having said that, we have many billion-dollar companies that are customers. It's built with multi-tenancy and the ability to scale out."
Network as-a-Service isn't a new concept, but its deployment has been hindered by concerns about Quality of Service (QoS), technical challenges and cost. Puri said Aryaka has overcome some of these issues by using carrier-neutral data centers; redundant private links that use a combination of MPLS, virtual private LAN service, point-to-point Layer 2 links and more across the core; and multiple Layer 3 links at each edge. Aryaka manages the network and equipment, which allows it to offer standardized service quality as well as honor QoS across the entire network.
Last month, the vendor beefed up the package by integrating it with Aryaka's management information application, MyAryaka. The software allows companies to monitor application and network performance; administrators can view links, the amount of data being processed and other operating parameters. In the near future, Aryaka said it plans to add Edge redundancy and acceleration, as well as new POP locations.
In a research note, Current Analysis Research Director Brian Washburn said Aryaka's approach bears watching, but customers need to be mindful of its potential weaknesses, most notably the proximity of an organization to the nearest POP. Not being close to a POP could result in sporadic performance issues that might not be under Aryaka's direct control.
"Aryaka supports customers linking into its POPs via Layer 2 services; it also supports clients using dual IPsec tunnels across separate ISPs for failover in case of performance degradation," Washburn wrote. "It is up to the enterprise to source the Layer 2 access links or to select the ISPs, and to manage the CPE router configurations to match their network needs."
Still, he added, "Network as-a-Service makes Aryaka a stealth competitor. Prospects can deploy IPsec tunnels across existing Dedicated Internet Access connections and try the company's services before they buy, without taking on major up-front risks. A low bar for entry may be enough to encourage enterprises to try out, and then sign, Aryaka as an alternative provider of enterprise WAN services. … [They] get props for a service that is somewhat different from what major competitors offer."
MPLS vendors are Aryaka's major competitors, the most well-known probably being Virtela Technology Services. Barracuda Networks, Talari Networks, Mushroom Networks and XRoads Networks also offer WAN augmentation, which can supplement existing MPLS-based private WANs.