The Enterprise’s Corporate Network SASE-fication: Highlights from MEF 3.0 PoC Showcase 2021

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It is possible to think of SASE as an overlay to SD-WAN that incorporates security protocols whilst increasing a network’s reach and supporting mobile, IoT, and any other type of device.

In addition, SASE provides constant network monitoring that reveals the performance of data flow, including remote data streams distributed across virtualized cloud environments and data centers: both network and security transparency gains are significant because fewer software agents are required to deliver and maintain consistent network visibility.

SASE’s main benefit is a solution to the problem of securing and connecting the enterprise WAN in a simple, performant, and holistic way, thanks to the fact that network and security functions are both converging into a single multi-tenant cloud platform, and security features such as URL filtering, anti-malware, IPS, and firewalling are built into the underlying network infrastructure: this means all edges—from sites, to mobile, to the cloud—receive the same level of protection.

Furthermore, SASE and CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) can work in conjunction to deliver cloud security along with overall network security services: together, they address the cloud-native architecture of an enterprise’s WAN security requirements.

Finally, SASE enables DLP (Data Loss Prevention) delivery through the cloud and centers around the data itself. SASE DLP allows the application of protection policies across your entire network, even if that includes more than one cloud environment, multiple applications, mobile devices, and on-prem data centers.

Reduced costs are a key factor for a successful network project: SASE allows enterprises to leverage on a cloud-native multi-tenant solution that, in turn, reduces network complexity and optimizes costs, whilst minimizing IT load and streamlining provisioning times. Also spinning down sites is less costly and time-consuming, given the absence of physical hardware and wasted software licenses.

As a further advantage, with SASE, management complexity doesn’t grow in lockstep with the network because a single cloud-based management application can provide control of the entire service.

The Promise of Lean NFV

SDN & NFV are key pillars of flexible networks underlying new, rapid and cost-effective on demand services. However, the maturity model of the two radically differ at the time of writing this blog post.

SDN was born as a technique to abstract networks, by separating the control plane from the data plane and has reached a level of maturity whereby it is no longer simply a ‘technology’ topic, but rather an overall approach to network abstraction, automation, programmability, and optimization.

The same level of maturity and adoption does not yet exist in NFV ecosystems: the NFV white paper is already eight-years-old, yet the promise of NFV remains largely unfulfilled for a range of reasons mainly related to the current complexity of NFV operations.

Lean NFV is a new approach that completely rethinks the way NFV solutions are designed and operated and provides VNF vendors, orchestration developers, and Service Providers a clear path forward towards a simpler, more interoperable, and innovative future for NFV, without the need of throwing out all previous efforts and implementations.

MEF 3.0 Proof of Concept (106)—Exploit SASE’s Power Leveraging Lean NFV Capabilities

In this Proof of Concept, we’re going to show how SASE services, instantiated and orchestrated via a Lean NFV architecture, allow employees (working either on-prem or remotely) access to enterprise corporate resources dispersed along multiple public clouds, keeping both network and security policies fully aligned with the corporate governance, notwithstanding the worker location and the workload localization.

This use case is of paramount importance because it represents the ‘post-pandemic normal’ in terms of workplace model.

The PoC is a joint effort of Amartus, Nefeli, Sparkle, and Versa, each of them responsible for different aspects of the final concept: Amartus is responsible for the integration of the whole solution and orchestration of end-to-end connectivity and unified security policy. Nefeli uses Lean NFV for dynamic and computing-efficient invocation of network functions. Versa provides SD-WAN and security functions. Sparkle offers to its enterprise customers the services enabled by these technologies.

Learn More

Stay tuned and get ready! Visit the upcoming MEF 3.0 PoC (106) Remote Employee Access to the Cloud showcase on 17 February 2021, highlighting enabling SASE services using Lean NFV and SD-WAN for access to multi-cloud. Read more about MEF 3.0 PoC (106) > 

About MEF’s Proof of Concept Program & Showcase

The MEF 3.0 Proof of Concept program effectively fosters innovation, seeds new MEF standards and projects, and accelerates our existing work within the ICT industry by providing our members—including service providers, technology suppliers, and other stakeholders within the ICT industry—the opportunity to collaborate on MEF 3.0-based use cases throughout the year.

Initiated by MEF members and facilitated by MEF staff, each MEF 3.0 PoC receives a unique, identifying number that remains unchanged as its title and messaging evolves over the life of the project.

PoC work is highlighted in public showcases and award presentations that explore individual Proofs of Concept.

To learn more about the MEF 3.0 PoC Program and the enabling technologies, visit MEF.net.

About Sparkle

Sparkle is TIM Group’s fully owned Global Operator, first international service provider in Italy and among the top ten worldwide, with a proprietary backbone of more than 540,000 km of fiber spanning from Europe to Africa, the Americas and Asia. Leveraging its global IP, Data, Cloud, Data Center, Mobile Data and Voice Platforms, Sparkle offers a full range of ICT solutions to Internet Service Providers, OTTs, Media and Content Players, Application Service Providers, Fixed and Mobile operators as well as Multinational Enterprises. Its sales force is active worldwide and distributed over 34 countries.

Find out more about Sparkle by following its Twitter and Linkedin profiles or visiting the website tisparkle.com.

Silvia Marigonda
Product Manager | Sparkle
https://www.tisparkle.com

As Sparkle’s Product Manager, Silvia Marigonda is in charge of developing the SD-WAN company commercial offering for the enterprise market.

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