SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is a fast growing network architecture that allows organizations to gain control of their network by providing the ability to connect remote locations across multiple sites, cloud services or offsite data centers. This solution continues to grow, with no sign of slowing down. According to Silver Peak, 90% of surveyed companies expect to implement SD-WAN within the next twelve months.
SD-WAN addresses challenges of MPLS such as network visibility and resiliency. In the marketplace, SD-WAN has been sold as the ultimate solution to business’s network needs. However, the introduction of SD-WAN does not negate the value of MPLS. In fact, MPLS and SD-WAN compliment each other and work best, together.
The rise of SD-WAN is largely because of the increased use of cloud applications. SD-WAN provides a flexible and scalable way for organizations with geographically dispersed locations to handle their network traffic. This allows users to save time and money while controlling traffic. SD-WAN is able to provide faster service provisioning, the business agility to adjust to market dynamics, and the ability to dynamically tailor to specific application needs. Overall, SD-WAN will increase application performance, which will lead to enhanced business productivity at a lower cost for IT.
Meanwhile, MPLS offers reliable delivery of packets and provides a high quality of service. This is a big advantage for organizations that rely on real-time protocols. MPLS is able to use big and powerful connections to connect large data centers together.
MPLS can impact costs as the need for bandwidth increases. According to the IDC, Enterprise organizations are expected to increase their bandwidth needs by double every 3 years. Flexibility and cost control will be important to organizations as bandwidth needs increase, and using MPLS alone could result in increased bandwidth costs.
Both SD-WAN and MPLS have complementary advantages to them. SD-WAN is able to use existing infrastructure and augment with provided services. It works together with MPLS technology and addresses some of the limitations of MPLS. SD-WAN is an overlay technology defined by software, while MPLS sits underneath to provide transport services.
You do not have to choose between SD-WAN or MPLS. In fact, utilizing both will provide a complementary network architecture to support your business today, and in the future.