SD-WAN, SDP, ZTNA… Are They Really That Different?

Confused by ‘buzz-word bingo’ in today’s WAN networking products? You should be. Every vendor from basic VPN to advanced global CDNs are rebranding across a variety of networking categories. The real secret is – when these solutions become more product than promises,there is not much difference between any of them.

Whether they are called SD-WAN, hybrid-cloud networking, software-defined perimeter (SDP) or, the latest craze, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)… they are all really the same thing…. the way users are going to securely connect to applications in the cloud or on-premise, in the office or out, from home or the coffee shop for the next decade.

As cloud-native, centrally orchestrated, tightly integrated, software-defined networking solutions, they have far more in common than differences. The only real difference is the entrance point to the network. Users may connect with agents when remote or dispose of the agent when in the office (though still authenticate with IDP). Branches and data centers will leverage the same network to access public cloud resources and managed devices, such as ATMs.

While legacy networking vendors jockey for position to own one of the terms in an attempt to sell their point solutions, the market is evolving to platforms that take an endpoint agnostic approach to connectivity. The real magic is in the cloud orchestrated network.

Until now vendors have focused on point solutions such as mobile connectivity (VPN), branch connectivity (routers), cloud connectivity (various) or global connectivity (CDN). Building and maintaining these solutions relied on expensive hardware appliances and required massive effort to maintain backward compatibility. 

As their replacements emerged, these vendors just slapped a new label on a new point solution. The challenge with this approach is that it maintains the silos that caused problems before: managing multiple vendors, complexity in configurations and integrations, and lack of a single source of truth for compliance and support.

Networking platforms such as Trustgrid make no distinction between location, geography or platform. A single platform provides connectivity to any application, system or device. All users and devices must authenticate to participate. Whether an MRI machine is using a hardware-based certificate, or a remote user or vendor is granted identity-based access, there are no golden tickets to access the networks built by Trustgrid.

Everything is configured, managed and supported from a single pane of glass without consideration of where an endpoint is terminated. Integrations and updates are managed from that same management portal and all functionality is fully accessible through APIs. 

While placing labels such as SD-WAN or SDP on solutions can be an important tool in getting internal understanding, this should not be a determining factor in selecting the networking solution that your infrastructure will be built on for years to come. The future of networking is already here and it is radically more powerful and simple than previous generations.

Learn more about Trustgrid’s software-defined connectivity platform.