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In the original Top Gun movie, Tom Cruise famously declared the words, “I feel the need! The need for speed!”. At Cato Networks, we also feel the need for speed, and while we’re not breaking the sound barrier at 30,000 feet, we did just break the SASE speed barrier (again!). (We’re also getting our taste for speed through our partnership with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, where Cato’s services ensure that Porsche has a fast, reliable, and secure network that’s imperative for its on-track success.)
Earlier last month, we announced that Cato reached a new SASE throughput record, achieving 5 Gbps on a single encrypted tunnel with all security inspections fully enabled. This tops our previous milestone of up to 3 Gbps per tunnel.
The need for 5 Gbps is happening on the most intensive, heavily used network connections within the enterprise, such as connections to data centers, between clouds in multi-cloud deployments, or to clouds housing shared applications, databases, and data stores in hybrid clouds. Not all companies have the need for 5 Gbps connections, but for large organizations that do have that need, it can make a significant difference in performance.
Only a Cloud-Delivered SASE Solution Can Offer Such Performance
The improved throughput underscores the benefits of Cato’s single-vendor, cloud-native SASE architecture. We were able to nearly double the performance of the Cato Socket, Cato’s edge SD-WAN device, without requiring any hardware changes – or anything at all, for that matter – on the customer’s side.
This big leap in performance was made possible through significant improvements to the Cato Single Pass Processing Engine (SPACE) running across the global network of Cato PoPs. The Cato SPACE handles all routing, optimization, acceleration, decryption, and deep packet inspection processing and decisions. Putting this in “traditional” product category terms, a Cato SPACE includes the capabilities of global route optimization, WAN and cloud access acceleration, and security as a service with next-generation firewall, secure web gateway, next-gen anti-malware, and IPS.Single Pass Cloud Engine: The Key to Unlocking the True Value of SASE | Download the White Paper
These capabilities are the compute-intensive operations that normally degrade edge appliance performance—but Cato performs them in the cloud instead. All the security inspections and the bulk of the packet processing are conducted in parallel in the Cato PoP by the SPACE technology and not at the edge, like in appliance-based architectures. Cato Sockets are relatively simple with just enough intelligence to move traffic to the Cato PoP where the real magic happens.
The improvements enhanced Cato SPACE scalability, enabling the cloud architecture to take advantage of additional processing cores. By processing more traffic more efficiently, Cato SPACE can inspect and receive more traffic from the Cato Sockets. What’s more, all Cato PoPs run the exact same version of SPACE. Any existing customer using our X1700 Sockets – the version meant for data centers – will now automatically benefit from this performance update.
By contrast, competitors’ SASE solutions implemented as virtual machines in the cloud or modified web proxies remain limited to under 1 Gbps of throughput for a single encrypted tunnel, particularly when inspections are enabled. It’s just an added layer of complexity and risk that doesn’t exist in Cato’s solution.
New Cross-Connect Capabilities Enable High-Speed Cloud Networking Worldwide
Cato is also better supporting multicloud and hybrid cloud deployments by delivering 5 Gbps connections to other cloud providers. The new Cato cross-connect capability in our PoPs enables private, high-speed layer-2 connections between Cato and any other cloud provider connecting to the Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) or to Digital Reality. This is done by mapping a VLAN circuit from the customer’s Cato account to the customer’s tenant in the other cloud provider.
The new cross-connect enables a reliable and fast connection between our customers’ cloud instances and our PoPs that is entirely software-defined and doesn’t require any routers, IPsec configuration, or virtual sockets.
The high-speed cross-connect will be a real enabler for those enterprises with a multicloud or hybrid cloud environment, which, according to the Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report, is 87% of organizations. Companies need encrypted, secure high throughput between their clouds or to the central data centers in their hybrid deployments.
In addition, this new service provides legacy environments the ability to use the leading-edge network security measures of the Cato SASE platform. Enterprises with MPLS or third-party SD-WAN infrastructure can now leverage Cato’s SSE capabilities without changing their underlying networks.
Cato Engineers Put Innovation to Work
The new SASE throughput speed record and the cross-connect capabilities show that innovation never rests at Cato. (In fact, GigaOm did recognize Cato as an Outperformer “based on the speed of innovation compared to the industry in general.”) We’ll continue to look for ways to apply our innovative minds to further enhance our industry-leading single-vendor, cloud-native SASE solution.