The excitement surrounding the availability of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) has led many to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). The simple answer is, no. The not-so-simple answer is that your organization may have specific needs and dependencies on multiple types of networks.
The interest in SD-WAN: There are many factors that contribute to businesses seeking out the innovations available through SD-WAN, including an increased focus on Everything as a Service (XaaS). This increased attention, as well as the broader trend to invest in cloud technology, falls in line with the mindset dominating business IT decisions: greater efficiency, lower costs and reducing risks. All of these things are easily delivered through the “as a Service” model.
In addition, the need to access cloud technology from various locations across an organization is driving the need for SD-WAN. This technology has the ability to efficiently route and prioritize Internet traffic in ways that support cloud solutions well. It also improves performance and agility at a lower cost than previous network options.
Why MPLS isn’t going away: While it’s true that MPLS is older technology, it is still a bullet-proof one that serves as the backbone of transport for businesses. Organizations with multiple locations are still using MPLS for speedy, high-performing network operations.
Businesses are able to share critical data and files over an MPLS connection with a higher level of security than what is possible with a model that carries data through a cloud network solution. For more sensitive or regulated data, it may be beneficial to retain a dedicated network over a leased line.
In addition, while broadband and Internet are fairly reliable, there is simply nothing as robust as a dedicated network access line.
In many situations, businesses value the ability to add in SD-WAN technology while retaining their MPLS network configuration. In fact, in SD-WAN implementations, businesses will often increase both their investment in MPLS and SD-WAN as they optimize the combination of both types of network capabilities.
Organizations can use SD-WAN to amend the costs of MPLS depending on the needs of the application. Should it be a less critical application — perhaps one that requires lower performance transport or more accessible transport — SD-WAN lets the business load balance across varying costs and transports so it doesn’t have to oversubscribe on MPLS.
If you’d like to talk more about the impact of SD-WAN on the XaaS climate of the IT industry, or if you’d like to talk through the various benefits of SD-WAN and MPLS, contact eXemplify today. We are a Verizon Platinum Partner and master agent with the experience to help you do more for your clients.