Historically, MPLS has been the network of choice for enterprises, due to its inherent security and the guaranteed performance levels associated with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The logical consequence of these guarantees is the hefty price tag that comes with it. This pain point, however, may very well be changing.
Software-Defined WAN, or SD-WAN, uses public Internet links to simulate a Wide Area Network by creating an encrypted overlay on top of it. This approach promises many benefits, such as network simplification, flexibility and, more importantly, savings on connectivity. The encryption is usually done by creating IPSec tunnels, with various levels of added security from one vendor to the other.
Private circuits, such as MPLS, are typically associated with a significantly higher price than their public counterpart like DSL, sometimes at a ratio of 100:1. In remote areas, that ratio is even greater. With this in mind, it’s no wonder SD-WAN is appealing to CIOs and CFOs alike, as it allows them to cut down on their networking budget.
This argument falls apart when the cost of MPLS goes down.
In the United States, networking costs are falling fast, and in some regions, it’s not significantly more expensive to adopt MPLS over greater-public options. Since it provides a private network to interconnect corporate sites, MPLS is by nature more secure than broadband. Furthermore, because it comes attached to a rigorous Service Level Agreement (SLA), it also provides a safety net in case of outages, or if performance isn’t up to the what the provider promised.
In fact, it may make financial sense to deploy a second or third circuit in case of outages.
The problem in the case of multi-MPLS is the difficulty in designing a viable and painless redundancy solution. In the past, and in most cases today, businesses using two or more of these networks deploy them in an active-passive fashion and rely on the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to failover between the two, in the event of an outage. This is a painful, manual process.
It’s much easier to perform the same failover process (or even use all circuits simultaneously) with public networks, as they can be used concurrently (or active-active) when using compatible WAN edge appliances.
For these reasons, most SD-WAN vendors will recommend replacing MPLS altogether.
The real reason, however, is that these vendors lack the capacity to manage 2, let alone 3 or 4 MPLS circuits. It doesn’t help that running IPsec tunnels within a MPLS network negates its native performance features such as QoS tagging. Such solutions are in many ways incompatible with MPLS, which reinforces their incentives to displace it.
THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE
Martello’s networking solutions are not constrained by these technical limitations. Due to their innovative Layer-2 design, Martello products integrate seamlessly in a corporate network without requiring any modification to pre-existing firewalls or routing tables.
The capacity to manage multiple MPLS circuits concurrently and transparently is unique in an SD-WAN landscape where vendors actively claim the impending “death” of MPLS. Despite their best efforts, this has yet to pass.
With Martello, MPLS circuits can be added or removed at will and be used immediately to provide uninterrupted connectivity. Martello products intercept traffic coming in from the local network and forwards it through the fastest path, while taking policies and application prioritization into account.
With all things being equal, enterprises should be able to use the technologies of their choice, without having their topology dictated by a SD-WAN vendor. With private and public bandwidth prices converging, having the option to choose is even more important.
Martello always aims at helping organizations build a network infrastructure that fits their needs, while being as seamless and unobtrusive as possible.
Contact one of our specialists today to see which of our solutions fits your needs best.
Will you be in Paris for the SD-WAN Summit? Come see us at booth #08 and learn more about our solutions!