SD-WAN Won't Push MPLS Out
by Christine Cignoli on

It may have seemed for a moment there that MPLS was on its way out as SD-WAN came onto the scene and businesses with remote locations used more public internet. That’s probably not the case, though. A recent Nemertes Research survey found that about 21% of organizations are deploying some kind of SD-WAN technology. Notably, though, they aren’t getting rid of MPLS. 60% of survey respondents said they’ll reduce the number of sites where MPLS is used, but respondents overall still depend on MPLS for business-critical apps. Another survey takeaway: using SD-WAN is helping IT teams know about problems sooner and have a better idea of how to fix them. This is a big shift for IT in this cloud-driven world: They’re now responsible for end-user experience, and knowing about problems before users do is a huge piece of that.

And more numbers on SD-WAN: at the recent WAN Summit conference, attendees there backed up these MPLS findings. 83% said MPLS will be part of their WAN next year, and 71% said it will be in five years—not much of a drop considering all the changes going on in IT networks these days. Nearly half of respondents are working on selecting their SD-WAN vendor, while 20% have already implemented the technology. The top reasons cited for using SD-WAN technology are to cut WAN spending and to improve WAN performance.

On the topic of SD-WAN technology, one network expert at a service provider notes that actual SD-WAN products have a ways to go till any sort of market domination emerges. His firm supports five products at the moment, which adds a lot of complexity from the provider perspective. For users, there’s a lot to consider around orchestrating SD-WAN for various parts of the network infrastructure and deploying it on different platforms. This story also notes customers need some help really getting what they need out of the modern infrastructures they’re running, where much is off-premises or virtual, or both.

This past week’s ransomware attack is taking “rip and replace” to new levels for one hospital. The Princeton Community hospital in West Virginia is going to replace its entire computer system after the Petya cyberattack froze its systems this week. They couldn’t get IT services back up, and couldn’t pay ransom—so the only solution was buying entirely new hardware and restoring files from backups, with the goal of rebuilding the network in the next week or so. It’s a dramatic example of why IT plans carefully for business continuity—and how much is still out of their control.

Filed Under: Industry Insights, Networking Technology