SD-WAN Has Not Completely Replaced MPLS

What is in store for MPLS with the rise of SD-WAN?When even a major research operation like Gartner is asking questions like “Is MPLS dead?”, it can be forgiven that some might think multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) has joined the great dumpster of technological history. It’s a funny thing, but most of the people suggesting that MPLS has passed on are largely connected to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) provision. SD-WAN is growing in adoption, but isn’t likely to completely replace MPLS.

So Why Isn’t MPLS Dead, Anyway?

There’s no doubt that SD-WAN has made a lot of gains. But MPLS is still delivering value on several fronts.

Legacy systems. MPLS is increasingly a legacy system. A Nemertes study found that 78% of organizations that have SD-WAN in place won’t be shutting down MPLS operations. Though a substantial percentage plan to restrict it, or otherwise reduce its use, complete shutdowns are unlikely. MPLS was a major investment; why lose the utility of an investment before it’s necessary?

Possibility of hybridization. More and more users are looking at SD-WAN and MPLS as complementary, not competitive, systems. SD-WAN is providing some excellent ways to cut costs by taking some of the heat off an MPLS system. Both together, therefore, can provide cost-effective power for applications that means efficiency without sacrifice.

Clear difference of function. MPLS is commonly seen as a great way to connect two specific points together. But MPLS doesn’t work so well on the global stage, and there’s SD-WAN’s opportunity. That means that MPLS can do well to connect the specialized and the local, while SD-WAN can expand to the wider picture.

A CIO’s balancing act. With MPLS doing so well on one side of the equation, and SD-WAN doing so well on the other, it behooves us to realize that the chief information officer (CIO) might well want to keep both running to ensure maximum smoothness of operation…as well as his or her post. Why drop what works, when a small addition can keep it working?

How Can I Find the Best Mix of MPLS and SD-WAN For My Business?

Some may want to take advantage of MPLS’ unique benefits. Others may want to proceed right to SD-WAN. For those who aren’t sure either way, a good place to pin down your needs is to drop us a line at MicroCorp. We’ve got experience on both sides of the spectrum and can readily help you figure out just the right mix for your operations. So get in touch with us and get started on the best communications profile for your operations.

About The Author

Phil Keenan

President
Phil has over 30 years of experience in telecom and unified communications. With his deep experience building innovative channels to market, Phil directs strategy to deliver high value, partnerships and solutions.

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