MPLS (or known as Multiprotocol Label Switching) has been a proven technology for nearly 20 years. It provides a guaranteed transmission between a source and destination.
The major reason for using expensive MPLS services is dependability. Service level agreements (SLAs) guarantee latency, packet delivery and availability. Should there be an outage, the MPLS provider resolves the issue within a stated period of time or pays the necessary penalties.
But there’s a cost for that kind of service. Despite price erosion, MPLS services remain significantly more expensive than Internet services.
Until recently, the only way to get predictable performance and reliable connectivity between distant corporate locations was by using expensive MPLS connections, even though inexpensive Internet services are widely available. SD-WAN gives the best of both worlds.
SD-WAN (Software defined - Wide Area Network) is redefining the WAN by creating a network that dynamically selects the most efficient transport service from an array of public Internet connections and MPLS links. It has two main benefits: cost efficiency and agility.
The SD-WAN aggregates several WAN connections into one software-defined network (SDN), using policies, application-aware routing and dynamic link assessment, to select the optimum connection per application. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver just the right performance and up time characteristics by taking advantage of the inexpensive public Internet.
SD-WAN also provides a point of failover when using more than one service. This can be a secondary internet or 4G LTE service. Depending on the area you are in and the 4G network provider in the area, this can be used as a failover connection or also compliment a slow ADSL/ADSL2 service to give great upload or download speeds.
SD-WAN gives greater visibility to where and how information is flowing between your network and branch office locations. It has the ability to manage the flow of traffic between all links simultaneously and with additional scanning and reporting tools available, SD-WAN is a great solution for not just the enterprise but also the small to medium businesses as it is more affordable than MPLS.
Some comparisons between MPLS and SD-WAN are listed below in the table.
|More branches cost goes up exponentially||Lower cost per branch, uses standard internet services|
|A lot harder to deploy, more man power, projects rollout costs, more expensive hardware required||Easily deploy, monitor, and support thousands of remote sites with cloud management and automated device provisioning|
|Delayed Failover, secondary MPLS connection required||Instant Failover to Secondary Internet Service or 4G services|
|Guaranteed up--time based on SLA or portion of service cost is returned||Increased up-time with multiple internet services and failover points|
|Re-provision network when moving sites||Pick up equipment and just move, even run off 4G services temporarily
|Running slow, need more bandwidth, cost increases with more bandwidth required||Running slow, need more bandwidth, add additional internet services, minimal cost, internet services are aggregated and bonded together.
|Long term contract and fix to the one service provider||No longer imprisoned by your Internet Service Provider
|Lower Packet Loss, <1% and backed with SLA||Uses Forward Error Correction (FEC) to detect packet loss and use alternative link to send packets, < 1% packet loss|
|Secure end-to-end LAN and WAN policy enforcement|
In vCloud's Cloud Network we utilise two unique protocols, PCoIP (for virtual network connectivity) and VoIP (for phone calls and connectivity to phone systems). SD-WAN is the core backend to our new Multi-Site Cloud Network. It is essential for delivering a true cloud platform and the ability to limit the amount of downtime utilising aggregation, bonding and failover all in the one solution.