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Disrupting the MPLS Stranglehold on Enterprise IT
MPLS has been the go to standard for corporate networking and WAN infrastructure for longer than most of us choose to remember. Although MPLS has provided benefits for connectivity in the past, experts believe that the technology has passed its prime as the “one and only” WAN infrastructure option, and many organizations utilizing it will likely migrate to alternatives within the next few years.
The death of MPLS?
What exactly is causing enterprises to seek MPLS alternatives? Many say it’s the need to control costs yet expand bandwidth. While MPLS is certainly not dead, it might have passed its prime. Broadband is a cheap alternative for many enterprises and paying for back-up links that never get used is no longer acceptable to many IT pros or their finance department.
“Experts believe MPLS has passed its prime, and that many organizations will migrate to alternatives within the next few years.”
As a result of increasing corporate connectivity needs and ongoing cost control pressures, it’s predicted that about half of all traffic currently being routed through MPLS technology will be migrated to an alternative within the next five years.
A number of organizations have felt the constraints of MPLS within their WAN, including Cory Miller, VP of Engineering at Bremer Bank. He needed a way to add affordable bandwidth at new and existing branch locations so the launch of new applications that the business needed, like video conferencing and collaboration, could be supported.
“We can leverage Talari’s capabilities to negotiate the highest bandwidth at the lowest cost without compromising reliability/availability in preparation for more rich content, video and streaming applications in the future” Miller said.
Miller isn’t alone in his strategic thinking when it comes to network planning and the role MPLS will play. Because MPLS has been a technology staple for a number of years, many network administrators are in the same boat. Searching for MPLS alternatives or MPLS augmentation strategies is becoming commonplace as the need to add capacity at broadband prices but with MPLS-like QoS continues to grow. The idea of the hybrid WAN is being adopted by enterprises everywhere and the MPLS stranglehold is no more.
The benefits of MPLS alternatives
Currently, there are a number of MPLS alternatives or MPLS augmentation strategies available, including traditional Internet connections, network-as-a-service options, as well as WAN virtualization or software defined WANs. Companies are not abandoning MPLS altogether, but creating a hybrid WAN infrastructure to meet the needs of their ever-demanding and growing, base of users/customers. Check out this report by Broadband Testing, on Internet link performance in an enterprise network.
“[MPLS] is not dead,” noted Gartner research director Andrew Lerner. “It’s still a backbone of most WANs. It’s just being supplemented with other technologies like Ethernet and Internet.”
A hybrid approach comes with a range of advantages over a traditional MPLS only WAN, including cost savings, increased provisioning speeds and enhanced performance. While MPLS technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, enhancing a network’s capacity and operating cost with broadband for a hybrid WAN strategy will set a business up to more easily handle the demands of its employees, customers and the market.