Discussions and predictions about the importance of “the edge” and /or edge computing are rapidly moving beyond the hypothetical as edge implementation are transitioning beyond proof of concepts into large scale deployments. Edge computing / IoT has joined with hybrid cloud and microservices-based software to accelerate the transformation of entire industries and open up new possibilities for digital organizations that were not possible just a few years ago. In this post we explore two impactful developments fueling the adoption of edge solutions.

Fortunately, the information technology industry recognizes that to successfully implement highly distributed edge to cloud solutions, a new set of common and consistent architectures is required. Legacy architectures founded on centralized data centers are now inadequate. The SASE model and Microsoft Edge Zones are two examples of these new architectures. In this post we look at the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) model of networking and security, and second, we will review Microsoft Azure Edge Zones.

SASE – the next secure networking paradigm

Gartner has introduced a new network security model defined as Secure Access Service Edge. Gartner predicts that “By 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018.”

To get complete details of Gartner’s definition of SASE read their publication  The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud – available for free: (registration required) 

The SASE model is designed to support today’s digital business needs for implementing secure access to dynamic services and distributed data in the cloud and at the edge with a global network fabric and integrated security capabilities. SASE turns the traditional perimeter security model on its head by converging networking and security. Security is an inherent foundation in SASE. SASE implements a Zero Trust network access model where security is implemented dynamically based on the identity and context of users, devices and applications — not simply on an IP address or physical location.


Fundamentally SASE is about delivering policy-based networking and security services with cloud native attributes of agility, scalability, and elasticity to support the digital enterprise. With SASE all organizational assets and resources—data centers, branch offices, cloud services, edge compute locations and devices, mobile users and applications are supported with single software-defined, inherently secure, and cloud orchestrated network mesh.

Microsoft Azure Edge Zones

Microsoft recently introduced a comprehensive family of offerings called Azure Edge Zones. Edge Zones provide data processing close to the user. Edge Zones deploy virtual machines, containers, and other selected Azure services to address the low latency and high throughput requirements of applications running at the edge. Edge Zones come in three flavors: Azure Edge Zones, Azure Edge Zones with Carrier, and Azure Private Edge Zones. Azure Edge Zones are operated as-a-service by Microsoft and run the same set of Azure tools and portal to deploy and manage services at the edge.

Azure Private Edge Zones are small footprint extensions of Azure placed on-premises. Private Edge Zones support virtualized network functions (VNFs) such as mobile packet cores, routers, firewalls, side by-side along with virtual machines and containers. Management in Private Edge Zones is implemented with cloud-native orchestration for the entire the lifecycle of VNFs and applications from the Azure portal.

Microsoft selected the NetFoundry Platform for networking in Azure Private Edge Zones. Learn more here. NetFoundry’s integration facilitates direct connections between business resources and Azure Private Edge Zones without deploying extra network gear. With NetFoundry embedded networking in Azure Private Edge Zones, all applications, from edge to cloud, can use any Internet connection, instantly joining a NetFoundry-powered Zero Trust, high-performance network.

Enterprises can now leverage a consistent developer, management, and inherent application security experience in Azure Edge zones to build applications in Azure and deploy applications to Azure Edge Zones or Private Edge Zones depending on their requirements. NetFoundry implements the SASE model today. NetFoundry embeds networking in applications or services running in Azure or Azure Edge Zones, creating global application-specific networks on-demand where the network is tuned to the specific security, regulatory and performance needs of the application.

We believe that the adoption of a SASE architecture where access decisions are driven by identity and context based on user, device, application, location, data requirements and business governance is the future. Digital organizations now have powerful new tools in the SASE architecture and in Azure Edge Zones to implement seamless networking and secure access to application that truly spans edge to cloud.

Go here to jump start your understanding of SASE with Gartner’s report: The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud  – available for free.

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