Monday, August 07, 2023

Nile's changing up how Enterprises design, build, and consume Access Networks at Network Field Day 32

Nile presented at Networking Field Day 32 on July 26, 2023 and they presented on their Enterprise Networking solutions. Nile has built out a set of networking solutions that focuses on the enterprise and commercial market and they are selling the solution in a Network as a Service model. The overview of what they provide:

  • Wired and Wireless LAN as a Service
  • Guaranteed Network Performance
  • Zero Trust
  • IT Simplicity

It seems they are competitors to Meraki, Mist, and Aruba from an enterprise solution offering and to Ubiquiti and Microtik in the commercial market. All of these competitors have strong market positions and install bases. This is a simplistic comparison, but for the purpose of understanding what market groups they are potentially suited for, it works just fine.

Here is their overview:

There are several more YouTube videos available, you can find them all over at the Tech Field Day 32 Nile page.

But in typical NFD fashion, the most interesting and relevant session ended up being the last video and the poor presenter was given the least amount of time because everyone else was unable to keep on track prior.

Note: If Nile presents at another field day, I suggest they START with this demo, focus on doing Q&A around it and expand everything else after it. Honestly, the first 30-45 mins of the overall timeslot was a waste of time and could have been cut (except the marketing people likely wanted that content - stop listening to them, you can record that stuff on your own, you don't need a bunch of delegates in the room for that part). If you are going to watch anything, watch this one:

My quick thoughts on what Nile presented:
Of course the IPv6 question was asked and they built a new generation of networking gear and solution without IPv6 as a first class citizen. I don't know if that is really forgivable in the current market. While I understand the US Federal Government is not their primary customer, or even a secondary, there will definitely be organizations that need IPv6. It is just such a glaring misstep I can't really take the rest of the product seriously, so you know my bias going into this. 

They also need to explain and position their place in the market a bit more clearly. A simple elevator pitch that says something like: "We are Meraki or Mist generation 2.0" or something similar to give a reference point. I get that they are doing Network as a Service (NaaS) and their billing/revenue model is slightly different but it puts them in front of the right general audience. The current pitch and explanation is too broad and doesn't narrow the field for buyers to understand what they do and why.

Effectively, they are wrapping together hardware, software, support, and installer/operator easy of administration in a recurring revenue model. I'm not sure that is revolutionary at this point. They did invest to brand their own hardware solution. I'm not sure putting simple diagrams on the equipment makes it unique in terms of IT Simplicity. Their management UI looks like a combo of Mist, Meraki and Ubiquiti so nothing super unique going on there, though that might be a plus, people who have used those other solutions can figure theirs out a bit faster.

I will be honest, I am not 100% sure what the large/important differentiator is for Nile. I either missed the key points in the presentation or they need to hone their message of how they are different, unique, and valuable for a customer. It just wasn't clear to me why I would want them versus any other product solution set out there right now. It should be the first, second, and third thing they talk about. I'm not even sure it was mentioned specifically.

I will keep an eye on Nile and what they are doing, but honestly, just like with Meraki, I won't take them seriously until they can work with IPv6 as a fully supported networking protocol.

 - Ed

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in NFD32. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event, if travel was involved. In addition, small swag gifts or donations were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates (I didn't accept the swag gifts offered). It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event. So all the spelling mistakes and grammar errors are my own along with the ideas and thoughts.

1 comment:

Ozer Dondurmacioglu said...

Hey Ed, thanks for the detailed review and feedback. Your article highlights many reasons why we want to engage the community and learn along the way - it will improve how we do what we do. Looking forward to staying in touch.