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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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News & Articles

June 25, 2024 |

The Future of Network-as-a-Service is Vertical Integration. Are You an Early Adopter?

Industry upstart Meter is impressing MSPs with a comprehensive NaaS offering at one low monthly price.

San Francisco NaaS (Network-as-a-Service) vendor Meter is enjoying a significant uptick in MSP attention at the moment due to their novel approach to hardware, support, and pricing model. What ties it all together, and won them Best Hardware Solution at ChannelPro LIVE: Columbus, is offering vertically integrated Network-as-a-Service.

When an MSP takes on new clients, they often inherit severe networking challenges: aged hardware, outdated firmware, dead spots in Wi-Fi coverage, and a hodgepodge of equipment (Cisco Meraki, Fortinet, and SonicWall, etc.) What underlies those technical challenges is inherent risk: unplanned downtime, lost data, and security breaches. Yet even when an MSP makes a great case for upgrades, it’s rejected because of the capital expense.

Adam Ulfers

What Meter provides is a fresh start. Their buyback program transitions companies out of ancient switches, WAPs (wireless access points), and security appliances into new, streamlined hardware manufactured by Meter themselves. There’s no massive outlay of funds at that point, it’s all baked into a single, low monthly invoice. Billing is calculated by the number of locations, or just by square footage until a threshold is met, so there’s no pressure to “make it work” with less hardware than is necessary to do the job.

“Ease of use, as well as ease of consumption, for their customers have a snowball effect partners see as a way for them to increase margins. That can fuel exponential growth for their business” said Meter’s VP of Sales, Adam Ulfers.

What’s remarkable is the single price tag approach doesn’t just cover the basics. If a new device rolls out tomorrow, customers get a complimentary upgrade. Everything from network design, project planning, hardware provisioning, server room buildouts, and low-voltage cabling is all included.

The Values Behind the Brand

Before helping to lead the Sales team at Meter, Ulfers’ big career move came in 2010 when he joined a small company then known simply as Meraki. Through the efforts of his team, the company grew to the point that Cisco acquired them.

Networking-as-a-Service Dashboard

“We were introducing cloud management to the market. It was very exciting. There was a lot of traction and interest and an elegant and simple model. I loved it and being part of that revolution in the industry,” Ulfers said.

Moving to Meter was a bit like a homecoming because he’s again part of a product being built from the ground up. With that, the ability to reimagine what network-as-a-service can be.

“A lot of people ask where the name Meter came from. When you lease a new location, you pay for the electricity bill and all the infrastructure comes with it. The same is true for water. That’s what people are looking for when it comes to networking. The state-of-the-art infrastructure is there, and with it comes reliability, simplicity, manageability, and security. That’s the future, but it’s here now – Cloud Management 2.0,” Ulfers shared.

Meter Security Appliance, Networking-as-a-Service

Meter’s commitment to Zero Trust security is a topic that Ulfers came back to several times when describing the product set. The technology’s architecture blocks entry ports and inter-VLAN communication by default, and it supports secure tunneling, rogue AP detection, and WPA2/WPA3/802.1X. Built into the security appliances are stateful firewall, DNS security, site-to-site, as well as client VPN. IDS and IPS are coming later this year.

Enterprise-Grade Performance Makes MSPs Look Good

“One of the best features of our approach to vertically integrated networking is portability and flexibility. If the customer moves, the subscription moves with them. If they expand, they can enjoy the economies of scale that a subscription provides. We partner well with businesses of all sizes because our product is great for 5,000-square-foot offices and customers with tens of millions of square feet,” Ulfers explained.

Meter serves a broad range of businesses, but is committed to focus on the channel and build lasting MSP partnerships. Their team will work with channel partners as much (or as little) as the MSP wants during the sales, implementation, and management phases. Meter sweetens the deal by shepherding sales opportunities to their partners, protecting registered deals, and providing sales commissions.

“Meter’s network-as-a-service solution could be great for highly internet-dependent clients, which is most of the world these days. Some clients may feel burned out by ‘as-a-service’ offerings, but this is one that MSPs should check out,” said Allen Edwards, founder of Eureka Process, ChannelPro contributor, and Advisory Group member.


What are your thoughts on Network-as-a-Service and vertical integration? Is it potentially a gamechanger for your MSP? Why not? We welcome your comments in our open forum on Linkedin.


Images: courtesy of Meter and iStock


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