The network edge is becoming an important part of the enterprise-owned network that is being used to provide a variety of services. Two of the most popular technologies for the network edge are Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). However, with the rise of new technologies, the network edge is evolving. Traditional technologies are being rapidly replaced with new solutions that provide more functionality and flexibility. One such example is the evolution of traditional Wide Area Network (WAN) into Software Defined-Wide Area Network. While SD-WAN has been around for a while, SASE is a newer term that is being used to describe a secure network edge.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN is a software-defined networking solution that enables enterprises to build WANs that are more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective than traditional WANs. SD-WAN uses a variety of technologies, including software-defined networking, to provide enterprises with the ability to dynamically route traffic across multiple links, including broadband, MPLS, and LTE. SD-WAN also includes features such as quality of service, security, and application visibility.
What is SASE?
SASE is an architecture that combines the security of an enterprise-grade firewall with the flexibility and performance of a cloud-based WAN. SASE provides a secure way for enterprises to connect to the cloud and access applications and data. The SASE platform is a cloud-native platform that provides end-to-end security and networking functionality. SASE includes the following components:
- Cloud Security Gateway: A cloud security gateway is a virtual appliance that is deployed in the public cloud. The gateway provides firewall, intrusion detection/prevention, and web filtering services.
- Cloud Connector: The cloud connector is a software application that is installed on the enterprise’s local network. The connector provides secure connectivity to the cloud security gateway.
- Enterprise Firewall: The enterprise firewall is a physical or virtual appliance that is deployed in the enterprise data centre. The firewall provides security for the local network.
- SD-WAN Controller: The SD-WAN controller is also deployed in the enterprise data centre. The controller manages the SD-WAN environment and provides routing, performance, and security services.
SASE vs SD-WAN
SD-WAN is a more general term that applies to any WAN architecture that uses software-defined networking. While SASE is a specific type of SD-WAN that includes security features. However, SASE and SD-WAN are both solutions for the network edge and are similar in many aspects. Such as:
- Both SD-WAN and SASE use a software-defined networking approach to networking.
- Both SD-WAN and SASE enable enterprises to connect to the cloud and access cloud-based applications and services.
- Both SD-WAN and SASE include a firewall to provide security for the enterprise.
- Both SD-WAN and SASE include a controller to manage the environment and provide routing, performance, and security services.
While SD-WAN and SASE are similar in many respects, there are also some important differences between the two architectures. Key differences between the two are as follows:
SASE includes a cloud security gateway, cloud connector, enterprise firewall, and SD-WAN controller. SD-WAN includes a software-defined router, software-defined firewall, and application visibility.
SASE is a cloud-native platform that provides end-to-end security and networking functionality. Moreover, SASE provides a more secure way for enterprises to connect to the cloud and access applications and data. SASE includes features such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention, and web filtering. SD-WAN also includes security features, but these are not as comprehensive as those in SASE. For example, SASE includes a cloud security gateway, while SD-WAN does not.
Flexibility and Scalability
SASE is more flexible and scalable than SD-WAN. SASE can be deployed in any public cloud and can be scaled to meet the needs of any enterprise. It is also easier to add new features and functions to a SASE platform than it is to SD-WAN. For example, adding a new security feature to a SASE platform is a simple process, while adding a new security feature to SD-WAN requires a more complex configuration making it more difficult and time-consuming.
Reduced Cost and Complexity
SASE can help to reduce the cost and complexity of enterprise networking. SASE can help to reduce the number of links and devices that are needed to connect the enterprise to the cloud. SD-WAN also includes features that can help to reduce the cost and complexity of enterprise networking, but these features are not as comprehensive as those in SASE.
Ease of Use
SD-WAN is more difficult to use than SASE. SD-WAN requires the installation of a software application on the enterprise’s local network to provide secure connectivity to the cloud security gateway. In addition, SD-WAN requires the deployment of a controller in the enterprise data centre to manage the SD-WAN environment. SASE is easier to use than SD-WAN. SASE does not require the installation of any software applications and does not require the deployment of a controller in the enterprise data centre. It is simply a matter of connecting to the cloud security gateway.
Improved Performance and Reduced Latency
SASE can improve performance and reduce latency for enterprise applications and services. SASE can compress data traffic, which can help to reduce the amount of time it takes for data to travel across the network. In addition, SASE can route traffic across multiple links, which can help to reduce latency. SD-WAN also includes features that can improve performance and reduce latency, but these features are not as comprehensive as those in SASE.
Taking into consideration all the similarities and differences based on the comparison between SASE and SD-WAN, it can be analysed that SASE provides all the benefits of SD-WAN with greater security, performance, and scalability. Additionally, SASE is much easier to use than SD-WAN. That is the reason, SASE is rapidly taking over as the preferred network architecture for enterprises. However, being new in the market, SASE will take some time to be adopted in comparison to SD-WAN. The reason is SD-WAN has much greater penetration in the market as compared to SASE which is relatively a newer network solution. SD-WAN is still a viable solution accepted by many organisations thus widely employed. In the long term, however, SASE will likely supersede SD-WAN as the preferred network solution.
To learn more about how to deploy SASE have a look at our Managed SASE Offering.