Traditional networking companies have only dabbled in the idea of NaaS. Cisco proposed NaaS parameters to the OpenStack open source IaaS project in the spring of 2011 but has made no announcements on the topic since. Cisco did, however, throw $100 million in financing at virtual networking startup Insieme in April. Juniper rolled out last fall what it calls Junosphere Lab, calling is a NaaS offering, but that service only gives customers subscription-based access to a virtual network testing lab, not a full-on networking service.
NaaS has been recently thrust into the cloud limelight since VMware scooped up virtual switch vendor Nicira for $1.26 billion late last month. That purchase price is 25 times more than the $50 million in financing Nicira had amassed to build its software-defined networking product and represents a huge bet for the server virtualization company on what the next big thing in cloud computing will be.
In an interview before VMware announced the acquisition, Nicira Vice President of Marketing Alan Cohen was already bullish on the prospects of Nicira's chances in the cloud. "I think the idea of infrastructure as a service will disappear as both local and cloud-based networking become simply, well, networking," Cohen says.
Burns is a freelance writer and editor who has over 15 years experience covering the networking industry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.