How 6 top SD-WAN and SASE vendors are evolving

Cisco, Versa, Fortinet, VMware, HPE, Palo Alto Networks envision new SD-WAN features related to 5G, AIops, automation

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As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and continues to impact the way people work, SD-WAN vendors are responding by investing heavily in new capabilities that extend the enterprise edge to wherever workers happen to be—branches, campuses, home offices, co-working spaces, mobile, etc.

The main thrust of this evolution in SD-WAN technology is the merger of networking and security functions into a single platform, which most vendors now call Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

SASE, a term coined by Gartner in 2019, converges SD-WAN with basic security offerings, including encryption, anti-malware, and firewalls, while adding advanced services, such as Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), Data Leak Prevention (DLP), Secure Internet Gateway (SIG), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

While the top SASE vendors largely agree on the table stakes outlined by Gartner, they are also looking to gain an edge on the competition by developing innovative new features, such as 5G for WAN links, advanced behavior-and context-based security capabilities, and integrated AIOps for troubleshooting and automatic remediation.

The six vendors below are listed in order of their market share, according to IDC’s most recent Worldwide SD-WAN Infrastructure Market Share report. The top six accounted for 78.3% of the market. These same vendors are also the only ones listed in the “leaders” category in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure.

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