According to a study, enterprises that have converted more than 90% of their sites to SD-WAN are realizing significant improvements: 20% reduction in staffing required for the WAN, and 33% reduction in the amount of time WAN staff spend on troubleshooting. They are likewise seeing a 69% reduction in the amount of time a typical site is off the network in a year, and an 80% reduction in the length of individual incidents.
Worldwide enterprises are rethinking WAN strategy. Keeping in mind the long term demands of digital transformation (DX), enterprises are turning networks more flexible and agile for seamless access to cloud. In the era of edge, pressure on enterprise WAN is tremendously high. Added, the security threats, demands of the netizens, and evolving multi cloud ecosystem. All have set multi protocol label switching (MPLS) out of the consideration list for most digitally matured enterprises. The emergence of software defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) being other reason which added credence to the MPLS downfall.
There’s no doubt that SD-WAN is the biggest leap in the networking industry. It not only promises greater operational agility but business resiliency and higher quality of user experience as well. Moreover, to lay the foundation of digital transformation (DX), CIOs first need to upgrade enterprise networking capabilities. Otherwise, embarking on new age technology and creating a data-driven environment is next to impossible. Lets weigh into few differences between SD-WAN and MPLS –
Meeting higher bandwidth demands using MPLS increases circuit costs, wherein using SD-WAN, enterprises leverage internet connection to gain higher bandwidth at lower cost.
MPLS allows dual MPLS, and SD-WAN allow connection of all sort – MPLS, broadband, LTE, 4G, 5G etc.
Based on traffic priority different types of traffic are managed using Class of Service (CoS), SD-WAN leverage multiple ISP connections to send traffic along the best available path, ensuring higher performance.
MPLS becomes inefficient when it comes comes to managing today application traffic. Using SD-WAN can leverage MPLS as well as broadband to route business critical app selecting the best path available.
Enterprises backhaul traffic to Data centres and then connect to cloud, wherein SD-WAN connects directly to cloud using DIA.
Traffic backhauled in DC is inspected using MPLS, wherein SD-WAN provides abilities like auto VPNs, firewalls and advance network segmentation.
Using MPLS, additional management and monitoring tools is required to gain visibility of network and application performance. On the other hand, SD-WAN solution not only provide granular visibility to network intelligence but also allows networking teams to prioritize application according business intent.
Cost (CAPEX and OPEX)
Reliance on MPLS means high cost wherein SD-WAN allows enterprises to reduce cost by using cheaper internet links.
Traditional WAN using MPLS required cumbersome manual configuration, SD-WAN allows zero touch provisioning for applying any sort of changes on the network.
Monitoring and Management
Managing and monitoring traditional network infrastructure in distributed network ecosystems is challenging as well as cumbersome. SD-WAN provides a centralized control to manage and monitor enterprise networks hassle free.
Catering Cloud with MPLS
Earlier networking was hardware centric and manual. Networking teams stored applications, data and services within a private DC. Enterprises relied on remote access solutions to connect with remote locations/branches/employees. MPLS or MPLS VPN was the preferred choice for enterprises to connect. But as Public internet maturated alongside advancement in networking solutions, low performance, latency and packet loss made MPLS insignificant.
Enterprises relying only on MPLS failed to cope with the changing demands of enterprise businesses. Network became rigid and lacked agility and flexibility to counter requirements for successful transformation to digital. Added the rising WAN complexities and costs made MPLS a bottleneck for most enterprises. MPLS was built to establish secure connection between two endpoints; it was never meant for Cloud connectivity. If used to access cloud, MPLS results in high costs to access cloud. It backhauls enterprise cloud traffic in DCs and as a result user demands rises in other private connections.
Catering to cloud based applications requires heavy bandwidth. Using MPLS, it costs humongous for enterprises to meet the demand for the same bandwidth. On top of that MPLS doesn’t provide encryption. It could only be used as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which would fence enterprise network from the Internet. In this case connecting MPLS with new age technology, devices and applications becomes unsecure. It raises questions on security and cyberattacks. On the contrary if you’re not running business-critical, real-time applications over the WAN (i.e. your phone calls, video conferencing or remote desktop), MPLS is still the best option for this traffic type.
Hybrid WAN – The way ahead
Hybrid WAN has opened new doors to optimize enterprise network at its full potential. 76% of top IT professionals say SD-WAN is the solution to Digital transformation.
The comparison of SD-WAN and MPLS has been a hot topic in 2018. While enterprises are trying to match up WAN capabilities with the dynamic business requirements, the concept of Hybrid WAN is on the rise.
The advent of SD-WAN has allowed IT to leverage MPLS in different ways. Enterprises today leverage MPLS as well as Internet at the same time. Not only MPLS, SD-WAN allows companies to leverage connections – MPLS, leased line, 3G/4G, private WAN address, public WAN address, ephemeral WAN address – of all sort. This phenomenon is also known as Hybrid WAN.
It’s a sensible way to reduce traffic from MPLS putting it on public internet along an assigned gateway. At the same time, use MPLS for critical applications that require guaranteed delivery. According to a study, 97% of CIOs revealed that they are looking for hybrid WAN as a solution in the future while the rest aren’t very sure about it.
When comes to comparing both MPLS and SD-WAN, there’s now only one challenger to SD-WAN in the cloud era, and that is SD-WAN itself. With features like centralized management, automation and intent based networking, SD-WAN is just the beginning to whole new world of possibilities. SD-WAN can help IT reach their goals along modernizing branches/mobile work forces provide a broad spectrum of services to customers at sustainable costs. Here’s an E-book you can download to unfold more about SD-WAN.