Interoperability key in ’23 as SASE spend remains split

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) revenue is forecast to jump more than 30% in 2023, but Dell’Oro Group Research Director Mauricio Sanchez tipped integration efforts to play a key role in the sector as enterprises continue to opt for disaggregated SD-WAN and security solutions.

“There’s definitely a growing awareness and appreciation that these solutions need to play well together at some level,” he told Fierce. “I think that ‘some level’ is a bit of a moving target, but one where I think the continuing momentum” is behind integration and interoperability.

SASE comprises both SD-WAN and security elements. But while unified solutions are starting to gain ground, they’re still not the default. Sanchez said that’s in part because of the siloed nature of most enterprises.

“There’s an organizational dimension here. As you get into larger enterprises there are separate networking and security teams. It’s not a single team,” he explained. “So, the purchasing motions hence driven will be still very independent.”

That means it’s unlikely that a networking team which has its heart set on Cisco, for instance, will readily jump ship to adopt a Palo Alto solution favored by the security team.

Sanchez said standards group MEF is currently leading the charge as far as interoperability and integration go, in December launching an effort to define what SASE services are and should include. But as the market continues to grow and evolve, a push for homogenization will likely increase.

“There’s some natural market evolution to be expected that’s going to raise the bar, to say ‘okay, if branch and remote access networking continue to come together under SASE, these workflows need to keep coming closer together,’ which will put pressure on those vendors which are providing disaggregated components” to offer tighter integration, he said.

Discussions around interoperability are happening in front of a backdrop of explosive growth in the SASE market. Dell’Oro predicted SASE revenue will jump from around $6 billion in 2022 to $8 billion in 2023. Gartner pegged the number even higher, forecasting SASE sales will jump 39% year on year to $9.2 billion in 2023.