5 Reasons to Make the Move from MPLS to SD-WAN

March 1st, 2017 by admin

Do your employees complain about slow network service? Would you like to increase performance and resiliency including that of cloud-based applications? And minimize carrier service costs in the process? If these sound good to you, read on to find out how SD-WANs are changing the way organizations architect networks and scale operations.
As the market continues to innovate and carrier service costs fall, new approaches to network design and connectivity are emerging. With more workloads going to the cloud, Hybrid WANs are increasingly being used to optimize performance and reduce cost. Where networking technologies like Metro Ethernet, MPLS, or using VPN tunnels over the Internet are traditionally expensive, difficult to build, manage, scale and secure, SD-WANs are providing a cost-effective, flexible, reliable alternative.
Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) help businesses to capitalize on the proliferation of cloud services by offering a better experience with applications at branch offices. SD-WAN software and hardware solutions apply virtualization over WAN connections to connect enterprise networks, branch offices and data centers. They more proactively route and optimize traffic based on latency, load, quality of service and other factors to provide a better experience over the cloud, and they do it while providing a dramatic return on investment. When offered with carrier services such as SIP trunking, businesses can provide unified communications for voice, video, and streaming media applications like desktop sharing, web conferencing and others for an even more robust solution. Gartner estimates that while SD-WAN adoption is currently low, up to 30% of users will be using it to manage WANs within three years. With their ability to reduce costs, improve resiliency and offer a view into all aspects of the network, SD-WANs are causing many companies to rethink Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and other options. Following are just a few of the benefits of this technology.

Optimizing the Experience

Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Slack, Amazon Web Services, etc.--we are increasingly reliant on cloud-based applications for everyday business. SaaS, a major driver of SD-WANs, will become the dominant model for consuming new application software for 80% of organizations by 2018, says Gartner in its "Forecast Overview: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2016 Update". SD-WAN’s offers a better experience for users across applications and architectures, given its ability to manage multiple types of connections and intelligently route traffic to remote locations with software-defined networking. The technology dynamically routes traffic over private and public links; less sensitive, lower priority information travels over cheaper public lines and mission-critical information over private connections. Because of its flexibility in intelligently routing this information, IT managers don’t need to overprovision or overspend upfront on WAN expenses.


Resiliency can be expensive on MPLS networks, given the cost of MPLS circuits. If the circuit goes down, the network may fail over to an IPSec VPN tunnel over the public Internet. With SD-WANs, however, companies might have 2, 3 or more internet connections coming together into an aggregation unit at every site, creating a bundled link that’s stronger than one individually. If one link goes down, or even experiences a slight hiccup, traffic flows to the others automatically and failover issues are averted. Even for businesses with only one location, SD-WAN can provide resiliency by optimizing traffic to the cloud. Gateways in the cloud optimize traffic to carrier(s) for a better, more reliable experience.


In addition to greater performance and resiliency, SD-WANs offer greater visibility into the network.  Perhaps you want to prevent employees from going to Pandora because it takes up too much bandwidth or to ESPN for live-streaming March Madness because it is a major work disruption. With most networks that are built using MPLS or IPSec VPN tunnels, you don’t automatically get visibility into the entire network; however, with advanced SD-WAN solutions, this granular visibility into what is taking place across the network is included out of the box.

Ease of Set Up and Management

Where many enterprises rely on complex configurations of routers, firewalls, WAN path controllers and optimizers and other components that are expensive and complex to manage at branches, SD-WANs are more streamlined, easier to deploy, manage and scale. Traditionally, businesses building a WAN using IPSec tunnels have had to build a firewall bridge that’s private on each site. This may not be a big deal if you have two sites but if you have 20, it can be an arduous process to create and manage the rules on each. Advanced SD-WAN solutions are easy to deploy; you unbox the unit, plug it in and it reaches back to the cloud to automatically configure itself. The device downloads its policy, cryptographic certificate and keys and automatically starts to learn traffic patterns.


With subscriptions starting around $1000/year for software and hardware, SD-WANs can be an incredibly affordable option over traditional network infrastructure. Some estimates say SD-WAN enables enterprises to deploy WANs 10 times faster and with three times the financial savings. And, with SD-WANs ability to intelligently provision traffic, and to better utilize  secondary links, IT managers don’t have to over-spend on systems, in anticipation of growing bandwidth needs. Finally, businesses that look to SD-WAN can experience a capital expenditure savings, as firewall capabilities are often automatically built in to the technology. And, when SD-WANs are used with ShoreTel Connect, a flexible Unified Communications platform built on a single software code, IT managers gain the ultimate in flexibility to design and manage a solution that combines phone, video, IM and more services from the cloud, on-site, or as a hybrid deployment. For businesses considering moving to SD-WAN, VeloCloud can be a great option, recognized as a best-in-class SD-WAN solution by Frost & Sullivan (2016 North American Product Leadership Award) and listed as a Cool Vendor in Enterprise Networking, from Gartner Group (2016) for its “simplified and cost-effective WAN edge” that facilitates SaaS and IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) performance over the cloud. This hardware and software solution combines SD-WAN Gateways and Edge devices with a cloud-based Orchestrator software to provide a scalable, redundant, on-demand, flexible architecture with a complete view into business networks. VeloCloud delivers hybrid WAN with high performance, reliability, transport and carrier flexibility to provide superior performance for demanding voice and video applications. Any business looking to capitalize on the performance of the cloud, and especially those seeking reliability across multiple sites and locations, can benefit from SD-WAN. How might it benefit you? Contact us to see if you qualify for Free Trial of industry-leading VeloCloud SD-WAN technology.

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