The increasing complexity of the network over the last decade has IT directors looking for a better way to ensure connectivity. Cloud technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) had not come on the scene ten years ago, and therefore, so many enterprises are still under contract for network technology that doesn’t fit the current needs. Specifically, there’s interest in coming up with a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) replacement that can reduce costs and complexity.
The benefits of implementing MPLS were clear: reduced jitter and latency and a high level of reliability that made it an ideal pathway for the needs of a decade ago. Now the cracks are becoming evident as increased network traffic starts putting on the pressure. And, there are some drawbacks, making the demand for an MPLS replacement more apparent.
MPLS is costly, and setting up a new line can take weeks, making it a bottleneck for launching a new branch and unrealistic for retail enterprises that use pop up shops. Enterprises need a way to handle the increasing need to connect more devices to the Internet for IoT technology, and for the flood of data to and from cloud applications.
For many enterprises, they see some aid in the form of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), an approach to the network that applies a virtual layer to the physical infrastructure. It provides a high level of centralized control and visibility and makes it possible to optimize network performance through pathway prioritization based on automated business policy.
While SD-WAN offers some fantastic benefits, including reduced costs and scalability, many enterprises are making the mistake of using it as a sort of band-aid on their networking solutions. The solution is often used to augment MPLS, with the idea that the enterprise can route mission-critical data transmissions to MPLS pathways while directing less-important traffic to public Internet lines. This is generally for items like email or employees using social media on break.
This approach is often justified by IT directors, citing ongoing MPLS contracts or hardware that still has some financial benefit to be gained. The problem with this augmentation, rather than an MPLS replacement, is that it can further complicate the network. The additional hardware and management complexity can result in SD-WAN and MPLS combinations taking up more time and resources in appropriate configuring and troubleshooting.
The best approach is for enterprises to look at SD-WAN as a complete MPLS replacement, and determine not to pay for MPLS any longer. While once considered a reliable and important pathway for data transmissions, enterprises should not make the mistake of opting for the familiar over the ideal.
To learn more about why SD-WAN should be a full MPLS replacement, talk to the provider with over 5,000 successful SD-WAN implementations completed. Contact us at SimpleWAN today.