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The Need for a Converged SASE Platform. Converging Network & Security Services with Catonetworks SASE Platform

Posted in SASE & SD-WAN Networks

SASE Converged Network - CatonetworksThe digital transformation is pushing applications to the cloud, the 2020-2022 pandemic shifted employees to work from home, and the number of resulting new use cases is sending IT leaders scrambling for answers. The number of solutions IT departments have had to adopt to ensure their network's performance and security has continuously grown for over a decade.

The recent trends have greatly accelerated this process. When looking into ways to help mitigate this complexity, one of the leading conclusions is that enterprises should find ways to consolidate their separate, stand-alone, products into a unified solution which can be more easily managed and maintained, and which can provide them with a consistent and a holistic view of all traffic in their network.

Gartner has gone a step further and designed a framework that facilitates this, which they named the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE is, in essence, an architecture that converges networking and security capabilities into a single solution and goes a long way in reducing network complexity.

what is sase

Before we talk about the networking and security services that SASE converges, let's first look at the entities and traffic flows they need to serve.

The journey starts at any of the enterprise's endpoints which need to access any of the enterprise's assets or external resources. The origin endpoints are typically users who can connect from any of the enterprise's physical locations or remotely. Physical locations are typically enterprise headquarters or branch offices, which connect between themselves or to other enterprise locations such as physical or cloud-based datacenters. Enterprises typically use an MPLS and/or SD-WAN product to connect their physical locations:

Traditional MPLS VPN Network

Traditional MPLS VPN Network

Mobile & Remote users will use a remote access solution to connect to their networks. Cloud-based services such as AWS, Azure will require virtual connectors, or other secure tunnel solutions to connect to the enterprise network and remote offices use a private managed MPLS service to connect to the headquaters.

As we can see, a modern digital enterprise needs to connect various types of endpoints that are spread across multiple locations.

So how is it possible to converge network and security services for such a dispersed network topology?

The only real option, as Gartner stated, is to use a cloud service to which all network endpoints can connect and which is capable of delivering all required services. This is precisely what Cato's SASE Cloud platform offers:

SD-WAN SASE Network Architecture

SASE Architecture Example

Each endpoint connects to the nearest Cato Point-of-Presense (PoP). All traffic sent from the endpoint is processed by the PoP's full software stack that provides all networking and security services.

Want to see it in action? Sign up for a trial by clicking here.

The convergence takes place deep inside the PoP, within the Single Pass Cloud Engine (SPACE). SPACE ensures all services are applied with a single, unified, context which provides them with a holistic view, enabling a better-informed decision process. While its implementation takes place "under the hood", convergence, much like justice, must be seen to be done. A solution that doesn't look converged, is probably not.

Another major benefit of the Cato converged SASE network is the reduction of jitter and packet loss, already covered in a previous article using a real scenario.

Related articles:

What Does a Convergence Network & Security SASE Platform Look Like?

Key Features of a True Cloud-Native SASE Service. Setting the Right Expectations

Posted in SASE & SD-WAN Networks

key features of true cloud SASE providersSecure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an architecture widely regarded as the future of enterprise networking and security. In previous articles we talked about the benefits of a converged, cloud-delivered, SASE service which can deliver necessary networking and security services to all enterprise edges. But what does "cloud delivered" mean exactly? And are all cloud services the same?

We’ll be covering the above and more in this article:

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Defining Cloud-Native Services

While we all use cloud services daily for both work and personal benefit, we typically don't give much thought to what actually goes on in the elusive place we fondly call "the cloud". For most people, "the cloud" means they are just using someone else’s computer. For most cloud services, this definition is a good enough, as we don't need to know, nor care, about what they do behind the scenes.

For cloud services delivering enterprise networking and security services, however, this matters a lot. The difference between a true cloud-native architecture and software simply deployed in a cloud environment, can have detrimental impact on the availability, stability, performance, and security of your enterprise. 

Let's take a look at what cloud-native means, and the importance it plays in our network.

Differences Between VMware vSphere, vCenter, ESXi Free vs ESXi Paid, Workstation Player & Pro

Posted in Virtualization & VM Backup

vmware esxi vsphere vcenter introIn this article we will cover the differences between VMware ESXi, vSphere and vCenter while also explain the features supported by each vSphere edition: vSphere Standard, Enterprise plus and Plantium edition. We will touch on the differences and limitations between VMware Workstation Player and VMware Workstation Pro, and also compare them with EXSi Free and EXSi Paid editions.

Finally we will demystify the role of vCenter and the additional features it provides to a VMware infrastructure.

So, without any further delay, let’s take a look at the topics covered:

Visit our Virtualization and Backup section for more high-quality technical articles.

vmware vsphere

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Difference Between VMware vSphere & vCenter

It’s sometimes difficult to keep up to date with the latest names of software. Even the largest technology vendors change their product names from time to time. Unfortunately, getting the product name wrong can result in various costly consequences including purchasing the wrong product or an older version with differentiating feature sets.

Contrary to popular belief, vSphere and vCenter are actually different products:

  • vSphere is VMware’s name for a suite of Infrastructure products. You can think of it as a platform name which includes lots of different components.
  • vCenter is the name of one of the components under the vSphere suite. vCenter runs on a Windows Server VM and provides the management and control plane of the entire VMware environment. This is also shown in the diagram below:

differences between vsphere and vcenter

Looking at the vSphere suite, the components and features that vSphere includes depend on your licenses. vCenter Server is available on all vSphere editions.

Here is an overview of some features for the main vSphere editions:

vmware vsphere editions feature comparisonYou will notice that this vSphere feature table contains many different technologies which are found in different VMware software components.

vCenter is a management tool that helps manage multiple ESXi / vSphere Hypervisors within the datacentre. Earlier versions of vCenter (also known as vCenter Server) ran exclusively on Windows Server (shown in the previous diagram) whereas now VMware now offers the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) which runs on either SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 64-bit (vCSA v6.0) or VMware’s proprietary Photon OS (vCSA v6.5 and above).

You log in to vCenter Server via an HTML5 browser (formally a Flash client) which looks like this:

Free Webinar: Clients' network configuration and compliance management

Posted in OpManager - Network Monitoring & Management

Defending your client's network from faulty configuration changes, poor compliance, and bringing the network back quickly from downtime can be challenging. It requires a lot of effort and time, a fail-safe strategy, a credible tool to bolster you up.

Are you an MSP who is looking for a tool or a strategy to handle configurations and compliance of your client networks better? Here is your solution, join ManageEngine's free webinar to learn useful insights and techniques to resolve your clients' network configuration woes rapidly.

webinar: Clients' network configuration and compliance management

Highlights of the webinar:

  • Necessities of network configuration and compliance management.
  • 5 potential roadblocks to look out for.
  • How can OpManager MSP back you up?
  • Solutions for real-life problems of an MSP.
  • Q&A session with our product experts.

Can't wait to meet in the free webinar on April 07, 2022 at 6am GMT and 11am EDT to unwrap the solution to your client configuration and compliance issues.

Claim your Free seat now!

Netflow vs SNMP. Two Different Approaches to Network Monitoring

Posted in Netflow

netflow vs snmp introductionSNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and Netflow are both popular protocols with admins, prized for their ability to give visibility over the network and in some cases discern the cause of network performance issues, network bottlenecks, system resource allocation issues and more. On the Netflow side of things, third-party software vendors like ManageEngine can greatly enhance the usability and capability of the protocol, while SNMP network monitoring applications like PRTG, Solarwinds or alternatively open-source Observium, Nagios and LibreNMS take the lead in delivering a comprehensive in-depth network and system monitoring solution.

Unfortunately, however, the close relationship between the two protocols, especially when it comes to software offerings, has birthed some misconceptions. While it’s common to see SNMP and Netflow as more or less interchangeable, there are some significant and key differences between the two that make them suited for very different use cases.

Let’s take a quick look at what we’ve got covered in this article:

 Related articles:

Understanding SNMP and How it Works

The Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) surfaced as early as 1988, with its roots in its predecessor, the Simple Gateway Monitoring Protocol, which was defined in 1987. SNMP was born out of pure necessity – before its existence, network admins didn’t have much visibility over their infrastructure at all. After the crash of the ARPAnet, on the 27th of October 1980, and as the number of complex components in networks began to snowball, it was clear a solution was needed.

However, though SNMP was initially built by a group on university researchers as a temporary solution, it quickly evolved, has remained very relevant even today. It’s not considered part of the application layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and OSI model and exists across three major versions (through SNMPv1 still tends to be the most commonly used).

Though SNMP’s name suggests management, it’s more commonly used for the monitoring of different types of network equipment, both on a network and hardware level. Typically, a monitoring server (e.g Nagios, Observium) known as a SNMP Manager monitors devices on the network, with each system holding a software snmp agent that reports information back to the manager:

 how snmp works - snmp components

Illustrating how SNMP works

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