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SD-WAN vs MPLS…is it Really a David and Goliath Situation?

SD-WAN vs MPLS David and Goliath

Networking is going through a transformation and becoming heavily distinguished by software.

I’ve seen quite an increase in the adoption rate of SD-WAN; and not only within the SMB market but by the leading service providers.  What’s more, those service providers are introducing and recommending SD-WAN to their clients.

To a greater extent, SD-WAN has not replaced MPLS.  What does this mean?  It means Todd was wrong…and wrong twice.

Uh oh, Todd is talking in the third person again.”

Wrong you say?  Two times?  Ouch.

Oh, you weren’t finished?  Well, allow me to retort.  I did not envision the nearly exponential adoption rate that SD-WAN has achieved this year.  Coupled with that, I thought SD-WAN would totally replace MPLS.

As such, here are my ‘stone cold locks’ for the upcoming 14 months:

  1. The velocity of SD-WAN adoption will far exceed what analysts had foreseen. I am talking about the ‘S’ class of SMB, niche markets, and even Bob’s Bait Shop (Bob and his wife Anne are the only employees).
  2. Organizations will not kick MPLS to the curb.

As SD-WAN adoption increases, it will become prevalent at the branch and extended client locations.  The pitch that SD-WAN is more dependable and resilient will prove that these remote locations will have a better WAN experience.  Tied with that, SD-WAN will continue to prove to be an affordable total WAN investment.

And for MPLS?  It will not be replaced.  MPLS is expensive, but a significant part of the expense is installation and implementation. Yes, SD-WAN bandwidth is economical; however, it will not take the place of MPLS.  Clients will not eradicate their existing MPLS, but they may eliminate them to those branch locations and reduce concurrent connections.

SD-WAN will layer with MPLS, keeping existing MPLS deployments as a pseudo backbone, with SD-WAN extending, expanding and improving the experience.

So with the savings that SD-WAN generally provides, organizations will be able to keep existing WAN spending in check (think of this as a CAPEX-type of expenditure) while reducing OPEX costs of WAN management.  All the while they will also be able to provide a resilient network, better connectivity which will increase operational effectiveness, peace of mind, and the contentment (maybe to go as far as happiness, or even pure bliss) of your clients; both internal and external.

There you have it.  Stone cold locks for the upcoming year.  SD-WAN and MPLS; they’re not just acronyms anymore.

1 Comment

  1. Maureen S. on November 16, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Sounds like the proverbial VHS or Beta issue all over again. Great article. Thanks for the insight.

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