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THE KEY TO SASE: CLOUD-NATIVE MICROSERVICES

SASE Networks Must Go Native

The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) marks a fundamental shift in network management and security for a cloud-first world. The model, first introduced by Gartner, is a response to the growing need for network architectures that are more fluid at the WAN edge, where all the action is now taking place.

First and foremost, SASE requires networking components that are built for speed, agility and flexibility. It wasn’t that long ago that virtual network functions (VNFs) transformed networking. But in this age of the borderless enterprise, where mobile access and cloud-based apps are everything, even VNFs can no longer keep up.

Enter cloud-native functions (CNFs) networking and microservices. CNFs provide the tremendous speed and low latency at the edge that SASE demands. Microservices are the next evolution in application services. Instead of running as applications on virtual machines (VMs), microservices operate as containerized instances in the cloud.

SASE Networks Must Go Native

The Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) marks a fundamental shift in network management and security for a cloud-first world. The model, first introduced by Gartner, is a response to the growing need for network architectures that are more fluid at the WAN edge, where all the action is now taking place.

First and foremost, SASE requires networking components that are built for speed, agility and flexibility. It wasn’t that long ago that virtual network functions (VNFs) transformed networking. But in this age of the borderless enterprise, where mobile access and cloud-based apps are everything, even VNFs can no longer keep up.

Enter cloud-native functions (CNFs) networking and microservices. CNFs provide the tremendous speed and low latency at the edge that SASE demands. Microservices are the next evolution in application services. Instead of running as applications on virtual machines (VMs), microservices operate as containerized instances in the cloud.

CNFs: Lightweight and Faster Than VNFs

A VNF is a software implementation of a network function that runs on one or more VMs, which in turn runs on customized or off-the-shelf hardware. VMs can be linked together to form service chains that support full-scale networking communication services.

One drawback with a VNF is its inherent latency. It’s akin to a sequential DMV experience where you must move from one window to the next in order to renew your driver’s license (see figure below). It starts when significant overheads for VM spin up and spin down. Next comes service chain orchestration—take a ticket—followed by VM-to-VM handoffs and their resulting hop-by-hop latency—move to the next window, take another ticket. The whole process then repeats all the way through the chain. Latency is built in to the architecture.

CNFs: Lightweight and Faster Than VNFs

In contrast, a CNF is a lightweight container-based software network function that enables spin up and spin down to proceed much faster. Once a container is spun up, traffic is processed and policies are applied all in a single pass. No more tickets, no additional windows, minimal latency.

Infoblox: Leading the Way to Cloud-Native Networking

When it comes to cloud-native networking and the delivery of microservices in the cloud, Infoblox has been ahead of the curve. The BloxOneTM Platform anticipated by four years the emergence of SASE and provides the ideal platform for this new way of networking.

As a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), it is our mission at Infoblox to make cloud-native computing ubiquitous for foundational network services.

The CNCF site provides real-world examples of how CNF implementations save time and money. Here are just a few:

“Autoscaling has improved [our] ability to address services that are over capacity or oversubscribed. Before, it was a weeklong process in the environment. Now, we have the agility to very quickly rescale an application or free up capacity.”

— Comcast

“Teams went from five or six days of waiting time, to five or six seconds.”

— T-Mobile

“Some of the VM-based deployments took 45 minutes; with Kubernetes, that time was just a few seconds to a couple of minutes.”

— New York Times

Learn more about the Infoblox BloxOne Platform and Gartner SASE.

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