Users Need Better Network Performance, Whatever Their Location by
Christine Cignoli September 22, 2017
Which approach is your company taking with MPLS? This breakdown covers the various use cases that might drive the SD-WAN vs. MPLS decision. Remote locations with a lot of streaming business-critical applications (VoIP call centers, maybe) will still likely need MPLS to keep performance strong. But for cloud-driven companies, SD-WAN products that are cloud-enabled can be a win. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, businesses may have to make short- and long-term plans for MPLS to get to the right situation for their needs.
For cloud-driven companies with remote locations, cloud provider location choice is essential. Even as so many pieces of corporate IT infrastructure today are virtual and becoming software-defined, it’s good to remember that cloud provider locations are actual physical data centers. If your cloud or SaaS provider’s location is closer to your remote office users, network and app performance will improve. Of course, there are lots of variables involved in strong application performance, but you should check that your remote office applications are connecting to the cloud location nearest them. This piece also mentions the use of CDNs and edge data centers to bridge the location gap when there’s not a local cloud presence available. Edge data centers are becoming more common as some SD-WAN vendors offer direct cloud connectivity.
Even with SD-WAN’s rapid adoption rate, there’s no sign MPLS connections will go away anytime soon. This research found that about three-quarters of survey respondents are replacing MPLS with internet for primary WAN connections at remote sites. There are a few reasons for choosing internet listed here, but one important one isn’t—cost. That’s the variable that will likely make a big difference in a lot of decisions.
For retail locations, the SD-WAN back-end could really improve customer experience with wireless networks. One example here: IT can use SD-WAN to set up store credit card transactions to use the MPLS connection, while apps like YouTube or web browsing use broadband. The trend generally is that retail and restaurant companies will have lean IT teams in a central location, leaving non-IT employees to handle any immediate issues. Setting them up for success will require some essential new technologies, whether SD-WAN, QoS enforcement, monitoring or a combination. Performance monitoring for remote retail locations is something we know a lot about—our continuous monitoring has saved a lot of troubleshooting time for IT teams far from their end-users.
Till next week, keep those end users happy!