Could networking be included in an office lease, an ISP service, or self-managed as a utility?
As the world gathered to watch two private citizens embark on their individual journeys to outer space, something specific kept bugging me. On one hand, we have made tremendous progress in so many areas of essential technology. On the other hand, enterprise networking is still so fractured and complicated.
I started to think about general connectivity to the campus. Connectivity to the internet should be similar to consuming electricity or water. I recall when we first leased our office, we signed up for a so-called Full-Service Lease in which water, electricity, and cleaning services were all included. But the previous leaseholder had to rip apart all the ethernet wiring and equipment that they had installed, leaving us as new tenants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to reinstate a new network of APs, switches, and connectivity.
If done right, office connectivity could be offered by
- Your ISP, as a managed service
- Your Commercial Real Estate Company, with self/outsourced staff
- Your MSP, leveraging their competencies
- Yourself, operationally optimized by making the components more fungible
In the end, customers want to focus on their business while consuming network connectivity as a utility, delivered as a subscription, or other consumption model.
Depending on use case, there are various requirements in the stack:
- WiFi hardware
- Access/Distribution/other network switches and routers
- Cloud-delivered management, analytics, correlation, and AI/ML
- Integrated security tools like Network Access Control
- Visibility and troubleshooting tools like NetFlow, syslog, alerts etc
- Hardware installation and maintenance services
- Ongoing managed services
There are many well-known networking vendors who have perfected their offerings in (1) and (2) above, yet they are behind on cloudifying (3) the full suite of their own hardware. Beyond that, they have independent tools like (4) and (5) – typically on-prem – adding to more IT fatigue.
Further, enterprises often have accumulated a mix of vendors through organic growth, M&A, or the addition of more modern technologies in newer locations, which no one hardware vendor can provide.
There has been some movement with newcomers who are aiming to offer (1), (2), (3), (6), and (7). Unfortunately for customers this means not only doing lift-and-shift of installed hardware, and competing with well-known vendors, but also offering all possible SKUs of hardware for various use cases, along with cloud-delivered service, installation, and management – while remembering it still does not address the brownfield environment.
WiteSand took a different approach., We built state-of-the-art unified cloud-delivered SaaS for (3), (4), and (5), allowing customers to use hardware from their preferred vendors. Doesn’t this remind you how payment is unified for consumers and merchants while dealing with thousands of banks, credit cards, exchange rates, and payment processing behind the scenes? In addition, WiteSand works with our partners who already offer hardware leasing, installation, and management services worldwide to provide (6) and (7). In short, WiteSand offers its customers a complete range of choices, including leasing vs buying hardware from their preferred vendors/partners, as well as self or managed service, while ensuring the same SLA is delivered from its SaaS.
We see this as the next big transformation needed in the Enterprise. The consolidation of various technology silos into one uniform, common platform – SaaS-based, cloud-managed, and delivered as a utility. This is the vision that motivates us. We’re excited to see how different vendors and newcomers will approach the same challenge.
We think enterprise networking should be and can be, as simple to acquire and consume as a utility. To learn more, follow us at witesand.io.