SASE Slicing

By Jeremiah Ginn, Director, Innovation & Strategy Advisory, AT&T Business Solutions – Global Business

The Call

Contribute to Network Slice as a Service with SASE, help The MEF Forum write the standards and leverage the solution set for your organization in 2022.

The Parts

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)is a framework that is integrating multiple security technologies with Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN).  SASE provides a framework for Zero Trust solutions to integrate in a meaningful way gaining benefits from each independent service in the overall solution.

Network slicing allows Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to provision multiple virtual networks over the same infrastructure with independence for security, quality, and performance. Slicing within a 5G provider’s own network is a required solution for leveraging sunk cost infrastructure to the maximum economic potential.  Utilizing slicing for sale between MNOs and their virtual counterparts, MVNOs allows for interoperability and provides wholesale revenue opportunities on existing infrastructure. The idea of granting network subscribers such as manufacturing, trucking, or public safety organizations a slice is a relatively new concept but offers the greatest potential for profit for the MNO.

The Standards

MEF Forum’s 84.1 Incubation group is looking to build on the MEF 84 standard, Subscriber Network Slice Service and Attributes body of work to further develop a method of leveraging a slice in a meaningful way to the market.  This effort compliments 3GPP 5G network slicing standards by developing the logical implementation of the slice described by their standards.  Currently the MEF Forum is recruiting technologists and executives from member organizations to collaborate on the standard extensions and development.

The Solution

Slice as a Service with SASE integrates the benefit of Enterprise Networking Consumption models such as MPLS or SD-WAN with 5G network slicing.  The concept may be new but for 5G infrastructure profitability, this model cannot be overlooked.  Provide a 5G network extension to a legacy network or a SD-WAN solution and integrate the SASE security service components and the subscriber gets as network that can be implemented on demand in minutes with all required security, quality, and performance orchestrated into the solution.

The Case

Many functional use cases have been explored for the SASE empowered Slice.  The use cases that have provided the most meaningful dialogue so far are where an organization requires integration of complex, micro-segmented networks with unique security requirements per segment.  Leveraging the power of orchestration, the micro-segments can be templated, tested, and copied on-demand.  This process also allows for security teams to pre-approve the micro-segments as well as provision policy that will govern the micro-segment upon activation.  Leveraging modern Artificial Intelligence for Information Technology Operations (AIOps) any violation of policy can be mitigated in real time, reducing risk of impact to production networks.  The AIOps solution provides the assurance that all micro-segment requirements will be continually enforced and allows technology teams the ability to publish service catalogs to end user communities for on-demand services.

The Market

SASE plus network slicing satisfies market demand where technology departments have had to execute the design, build, deploy process at least twice for a new location or new network segment.  The first time is to establish a working network connection for an immediate demand in a few days.  The second time is 3-9 months later to migrate the working, temporary solution to a permanent production solution.  This creates needless rework which impacts the end user experience, the budget, the organization’s performance, and the technology department’s labor.  With the SASE Slice, all services can be provisioned on demand within minutes of financial commitment and generic hardware arrival.  This allows the CIO to return business value without excessive operational staffing consumption.

The Future

Moving to the future, all technology services must be ON-DEMAND, provisioned with consumption based financial model where the “Subscriber” is given their rightful power to move at the pace with the creativity and productivity their organization and integrate new services on their day of birth to the market.  The SASE Slice as a Service model allows continual improvement in security, quality, and performance.

The Author

Jeremiah Ginn


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