SDWAN vs SASE: What’s the Difference?

SDWAN vs SASE: What’s the Difference?

As the world continues to move through a state of rapid digital transformation, businesses of all sizes are searching for new ways to streamline operations and empower teams.

A world of distributed employees working in hybrid environments, “everything-as-a-service” technology, and cloud connections has made old-fashioned WAN connections obsolete.

The only way to stay ahead of the curve in this landscape, is to embrace a new, more software-focused solution for networking. SDWAN, or Software-defined wide area networking, is now touted as a crucial purchase by around 82% of IT decision makers. With SDWAN, business leaders can leverage a virtualized network overlay to connect and remotely manage their branch offices.

However, SDWAN isn’t the only networking technology on the market offering a newly enhanced level of flexibility and cloud agility. SASE, otherwise known as Secure Access Service Edge, is also earning increasing attention.

So, what is SASE, and how is it related to SDWAN?

Let’s find out.

Understanding SDWAN and the Rise of SASE

SDWAN is one of the fastest-growing forms of networking technology in the market today. Demand for SDWAN technology increased by approximately 35% in 2021 alone, creating an estimated value of around $2 billion, and experts believe this market will only continue to grow.

As a more flexible, cloud-ready solution for the wide area networking environment, SDWAN is rapidly becoming a must-have investment for business leaders dealing with remote, distributed teams, and disconnected office branches. Where the traditional WAN environment was never designed for the cloud landscape, SDWAN is a different story.

By abstracting the underlying network transport services in a network environment, such as MPLS and 4G LTE, and enabling a software-defined approach, SDWAN has helped enterprises to address countless challenges to do with bandwidth, latency, and costs.

SDWAN gives enterprises the flexibility they need to improve network performance, enhance employee experiences of critical software applications and more. SDWAN can even deliver additional fault tolerance in a cloud-connected ecosystem and ensure the right amount of focus can be given to the tools employees need most, through dynamic routing policies.

However, while growing adoption of SDWAN technologies highlights the potential of the solution, it’s worth noting that SDWAN can’t deliver everything on its own. Most modern networks need more than basic site-to-site connectivity and public internet access for cloud services. While SDWAN appliances move enterprises closers to the flexible environment they need, they aren’t designed to address all of the security and networking challenges enterprises might face at once.

This is where SASE comes in.

What Exactly is SASE? (Secure Access Service Edge)

SASE is a concept coined by Gartner, which bundles the benefits of SDWAN with a wider variety of connected services and applications to provide a more comprehensive networking solution. According to many analysts, SASE is essentially the next “leap forward” in networking technology after SDWAN. By combining SDWAN technologies with more of the additional features most businesses need to thrive in the cloud environment, SASE provides a more holistic experience.

The primary advantage of SASE is it allows companies to build a comprehensive global network, capable of securing and connecting enterprise edge sites, SD mobile users, resources on the cloud and more, all without compromising on the cost savings, agility, and predictability of MPLS. Edges can use any form of local internet access to send their traffic to the closest PoP on a SASE global network, and there, traffic is optimized, secured, and sent to the next destination.

SASE continues to deliver all of the essential benefits which makes SDWAN so compelling in today’s landscape, including cloud-friendliness, agility, and cost-savings. However, it also goes a step further, by building security into the cloud-native architecture, so companies don’t have to rely on a patchwork of add-on security appliances. SASE can offer:

  • A cloud-native architecture: Designed specifically for the age of cloud computing, SASE solutions embrace a multitenant and cloud-native architecture for WAN infrastructure. This means your SASE solution can easily deliver service to any edge endpoint in the mobile and hybrid workforce, without compromising on security or performance. You can also reduce the complexities of patching and maintaining your environment in this landscape, as everything is handled by your SASE vendor, rather than your central team.
  • Strong global network support: One of the major differences between SASE and SDWAN is SASE can offer a global network backbone, which consists of a host of different Point of Presence environments. Depending on your provider, you can achieve high-level SLAs for uptime, to ensure peace of mind. With SASE, you can achieve a level of reliability which can be difficult to access with SDWAN alone.
  • Security built-in: Another significant downside of SDWAN is it doesn’t come with its own security solutions already included. SDWAN is really just one part of the comprehensive networking puzzle for businesses in today’s cloud environment. With SASE, however, companies can access a range of security features, ranging from SWG and CASB to IPS and NGFW, all delivered from a single cloud-native platform. The result is better visibility and security, and fewer silos in your network.
  • Enhanced management: By reducing the need for various appliances and tools connected together in the same network, and providing an all-in-one interface for management, SASE makes it easier to manage your core network architecture. The network complexity factor goes down, and businesses can allow their IT teams to focus more heavily on core business functionality instead of maintenance.

Is SASE Better than SDWAN?

While it’s definitely possible to enhance your business networking strategy with SDWAN on its own, the reality is that you’re only going to get one piece of the service you need in this case. Upgrading your SDWAN solution to a comprehensive SASE ecosystem means you can leverage a wide range of additional benefits which simply aren’t available with SDWAN by itself.

With SASE, you can maintain a holistic view of your organization’s network, ensuring better levels of security and control, as well as enhanced access to agile security fixes and boosted protection applications. SASE can even help you to reduce costs by combining the various tools your network needs into one budget-friendly solution.

The question is, do you think SASE or SDWAN would be best for you?

Send us an email

Get in Touch

Contact Us