MEF survey reveals top SD-WAN and SASE challenges

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) conducted a survey which showed that the top SD-WAN and SASE challenges are focused on coping with operating a multi-vendor environment. That’s to be expected since there are no standards for multi-vendor interoperability for either of those technologies. MEF surveyed 36 worldwide service provider experts to obtain its results.

The complexity of operating and managing multi-vendor SD-WAN, integrating security options and defining end-to-end service level agreements (SLAs) were the top three challenges.

The top Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) challenges focus more on education and standardization. The top challenges service providers face with SASE are the lack of industry standards, customer education and migration, vendors not offering a complete solution and operating in a multi-vendor environment.

MEF’s research also shows that both SD-WAN and SASE markets are on track to hit analyst expectations. “The global SD-WAN services market should hit double-digit revenue growth in 2022, while most providers who offered SASE in 2021 expect 50%-plus revenue growth in 2022 due to a significant uptick in rollout of SASE services and features,” MEF Principal Analyst Stan Hubbard told SDxCentral via email.

All service providers surveyed already have elements of a SASE offering or plan to introduce a SASE solution in 2022, according to this MEF survey.

“The top SD-WAN and SASE service provider challenges are in line with expectations for the different stages of these markets, On the SD-WAN front, one of the biggest aggravations for providers is the complexity of operating a multivendor environment, which is primarily due to the absence of interoperability among SD-WAN technology vendors. Providers have told us that their need to develop and maintain expertise on various SD-WAN vendor solutions increases skills and training burdens, creates operational inefficiencies, and adds costs. The situation is made worse today because the terminology, architectures, performance metrics, etc., of vendors differ since they do not all adhere to common standards,” Hubbard wrote.

“The SASE services market is in its very early days, confusing, and full of a host of challenges related to customer education, customer migration, lack of industry standards, the lack of complete SASE vendor solutions and more. Multiple service providers agreed the organizational challenge of integrating networking and security is ‘huge’ for customers migrating to a SASE solution. As a large service provider stated, “SASE will be a failure without organizational change” within both customers and service providers,” Hubbard added.

References:

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/analysis/sase-sd-wan-markets-to-see-double-digit-growth-in-2022-mef/2022/05/

Shift from SDN to SD-WANs to SASE Explained; Network Virtualization’s important role

MEF New Standards for SD-WAN Services; SASE Work Program

 

One thought on “MEF survey reveals top SD-WAN and SASE challenges

  1. Verizon said in its guide for the “right approach” to secure access service edge (SASE) – the Gartner-coined infrastructure that combines cloud-native network and security stacks- that managing and securing an increasingly complex environment poses “significant challenges.”
    https://www.verizon.com/business/resources/T8d/whitepapers/the-right-approach-to-sase.pdf

    In 2021 Verizon Business launched SASE solution with a multi-vendor approach that combines SD-WAN and network security capabilities from Versa Networks and Zscaler into a single managed service. Rival AT&T had rolled out its own solution earlier that year in partnership with Fortinet.

    Verizon cites the COVID-19 pandemic, virtualization and the move to the cloud, increased security threats, and a shift away from the network appliance box as the primary factors that drove the “SASE frenzy” in recent years.

    By 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018, according to the Verizon guide.

    “Getting SASE right may be a complex proposition that presents significant challenges,” the provider said. “For one thing, it is a still-evolving technology target.”

    The SASE architecture combines network edge capabilities like SD-WAN and a set of security capabilities Gartner dubbed the security services edge (SSE) – a cloud-delivered suite that includes zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud-access security broker (CASB), secure web gateway (SWG), and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS).

    The major elements that make up SASE have been around in some form or another for “at least 10 years,” Verizon pointed out.

    For this reason, a critical component of getting SASE right is cross-technology integration. “There’s no one-size-fits-all SASE solution, which means enterprises will need to be comfortable working with a variety of technologies in order to build an effective implementation that solves a given organization’s specific challenges,” the provider said.

    Enterprises adopting SASE need to be able to integrate a broad range of network technologies from physical transport – like private IP and MPLS – up through the virtualization SDN layer in order to build an integrated SD-WAN capability with traffic routing, prioritization, and bandwidth optimization.

    Another “key ingredient” to SASE is edge computing like content delivery networks, multi-access edge computing (MEC), or an IoT gateway. “Managing security across these complex and distributed systems will be essential and require a deep understanding of how edge computing fits into the SASE model,” Verizon explained.

    Orchestrating SASE Infrastructure
    How the technology components of SASE come together is critical.

    Verizon recommends enterprises implement service chaining as a key component of SASE because it is a “way of automating and optimizing the service delivery experience.”

    In an environment where many vendors are still unable to provide a complete end-to-end SASE solution, organizations likely need to combine technologies and products to create their desired solutions. “Being able to optimize new and already-deployed technology components so each is functioning and contributing at its full potential will be important,” Verizon said.

    The ability to conduct testing to make sure SASE is properly integrated and performing at necessary levels will also be critical. Verizon indicated this requires the “proper tools to conduct the integration, performance, and stress testing needed to ensure that functions have been deployed in the optimal order and the most efficient configuration.”

    Service chaining and other orchestration in a virtual network requires expertise, which has led to challenges for many organizations in the midst of a global skill shortage. However, this can be mitigated in part through organizational restructuring that sees networking and security teams – which have traditionally operated separately – merge their administration and management from the organizational perspective.

    Lastly, Verizon suggested that because SASE is still a work in progress, “CIO and CISO groups will need to rethink their respective roles in supporting enterprise infrastructure operations.”

    “Proper governance will be key to success as these changes percolate down through the organization, as they will eventually touch the network architects, security architects, application architects and others that need to work together to execute on a company’s SASE strategy,” Verizon added.

    https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/analysis/verizons-critical-components-to-getting-sase-right/2022/11/

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