Putting Your Sassy Money Where Your Nous Is

I’ve been making a bit of noise in this bloggy column of mine now about sassy SASE for some time, but it seems I’m not the only one (other than Gartner wot coined the concept).

The world of investors is also actively following the trend; recent investment rounds for the likes of Cato Networks and Netskope prove the point here. And even without a prompt, vendor discussions at a recent Netevents on next-gen SD-WAN, got into sassy talk. At said event, in my absence, my question was posed: “So, we have the discussion of what the “next-generation” SD-WAN comprises while, at the same time we have those who are saying “SD-WAN is dead” and the rest of us still trying to work out what the real differences between the artist formerly known as WanOp and SD-WAN are anyway. The point is, it has all got very confusing at a time when businesses have been struggling to adapt their IT infrastructure to the enforced workplace/workforce changes – or even simply stay in business – and need simple advice. Isn’t it about time, therefore, we finally stopped talking about island of IT tech and instead about solutions, regardless of the nomenclature? IBM seemed to do quite well out of this approach in the 60s thru’ 80s.”

Ok – so it was less of a question than a diatribe, but you get the point. VMware’s Mark Vondemkamp got straight to the point, saying: “I think the solution aspect of this is extremely important in that by definition we are now basically bringing together multiple components and SASE – so bringing solutions to bear will be important for customers. And then I truly believe that you have to give customers the ability to have a roadmap. You can’t assume rip and replace. So, partners are going to be really important for each vendor in the space, because each one of these partners has a foothold, and in some cases, they’re not going to let go of that foothold so solutions are not only going to be important from the vendor but solutions across vendors will also be important.”

Earlier in the debate, the chair, Scott Raynovich, Founder and Principal Analyst, Futuriom, brought up the “S” word in earnest to the panel:  “What do you think’s going to happen with the SASE thing? I hear about it every day and as an analyst we have to grapple with these marketing buzzwords, but as we defined SASE it’s really a collection of security functions at the edge, that are going to be, in many cases, integrated with SD-WAN platforms, are delivered as part of them. Do you see them as different markets, the same markets?

Here were the responses:

Mark Vondemkamp, VMware: So, we look at data. I’m sure like everybody else from multiple sources, I think everybody pretty much believes SASE and that the different components of SASE are growing.  So when we look at SASE I think right now we’re primarily looking at SD-WAN, we’re looking at ZTA. And then we also are looking at Cloud firewall.  So, we think those are the foundational components of SASE”.

Professor Martin Curley of The Health Service Executive, noted: “I remember that when I was at Intel we emitted more hype than Hollywood. So, there is a lot of new terminology and buzzwords.  I think the end user isn’t looking for two separate products, I think ideally, we’d very much want SASE as an integrated part so we don’t have to do two separate procurements and I think the more integrated security is into the SD- WAN, the better. But it doesn’t make sense to have kind of separate security on SD-WAN architectures or SASE – it has to be an integrated part of SD-WAN”. Even Cisco’s Archana Khetan noted; “We certainly see the promise of SASE and the required desire for tighter integration between the network and security realms.”

If you want to see the whole event, tune in here folks:


Meantime, seems SASE is here to stay folks, especially as remote working – as forecast – is very much ongoing. As part of the recent customer survey that Cato Networks carried out – as highlighted in a recent blog – enterprises that adopted SASE were able to instantly connect and secure remote users everywhere. That simple statement alone emphasises why SD-WAN and SASE are “as one” and in harmony. And it also resolves the future of SD-WAN…


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