Why MPLS doesn’t cut it in the age of cloud

If you’ve adopted Office 365 or Salesforce, or are moving to the cloud, you’ll reach a point where your corporate MPLS network doesn’t cut it. Just don’t expect your MPLS provider to tell you that.

Why is MPLS falling out of favour?

Quite simply, it was created when people used brick phones, Windows 98 was the desktop operating system of choice, and cloud was weather, not computing. How many other late ‘90s technologies are you still actively using today? I’d venture the answer to that is almost zero, yet the average organisation still uses late ‘90s networking.

You may have heard of software-defined networking. It’s big, and promises to be as disruptive as server virtualisation was to running servers.It’s called SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network).

In the last Gartner Symposium where we soft-launched our SD-WAN product, the session was oversubscribed.

You can think of SD-WAN as an overlay for your network that can help you define the most efficient and effective path to route various types of traffic.

That means you can keep your existing single or multi-carrier fibre, copper or 4G links. You can also keep your existing MPLS network, but overlaying SD-WAN will let you right-size it to fit the networking needs of your company today.

There are a number of good reasons to bring in SD-WAN technology.

  1. First, as I’ve said, you can use it to right-size your MPLS network, increasing the performance of applications on the network by routing their traffic efficiently. If you use Office 365 or Salesforce, or run some cloud-based workloads outside your firewalls, your users will notice the difference in latency and performance.
  2. Second, SD-WAN will increase agility that allows you to quickly adapt to changing business requirements that requires network resources such as testing a new product or opening a new store. Instead of waiting for weeks for a new connection link or additional bandwidth, SD-WAN can get you up and running in days with quality performance.
  3. Third, you’ll have the tools to help your network tell the difference between the good and the bad traffic so your users accessing Office 365 won’t have to compete bandwidth with users watching the latest movie trailers on YouTube.
  4. Fourth, it’ll make sense of all the investment you’ve made in your fibre, copper, 4G and other links by maximising their use through dynamic load balancing.
  5. And fifth, a by-product of SD-WAN is better network security. It has higher levels of security than MPLS, offering end-to-end packet-level encryption among other features.

If you want to get started, the easiest way is via a proof-of-concept. You can do it on as few as two sites, and you don’t have to wait until your MPLS contract is up. Talk to us today about bringing your network back to where it should be.

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Author Name: Matthew Allen

Matthew Allen is Director of Product Development at NTT Communications in Australia. Matthew is responsible for defining the local product roadmap and strategy for NTT, encompassing data centres, networks and cloud services.

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Added 23 May 2017

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