We frequently get asked by clients, “Should I go MPLS or SD-WAN?” For cloud or hybrid cloud environments, our response to this question is nearly always, “Well, it depends.”  Without a doubt, we’re in the camp of SD WAN technology for most non-critical, non-real time applications—sharing files and email—for hybrid cloud environments. For these use cases, we believe SD-WAN offers clear benefits over MPLS.

Here’s why.

SD WAN technology is cloud application friendly.

Think about your network in terms of mission-critical applications. If you’re sending these over the WAN, sure, MPLS may carry some weight since SD-WAN relies on public internet for a connection. But many clients host non-critical applications in the cloud, and this is where SD-WAN shines. SD-WAN gives you more bandwidth and the ability to quickly change your speed.

SD-WAN

It’s internet service provider agnostic.

SD WAN technology is all about bringing together multiple WAN connections. The beauty is that it doesn’t matter what type of connection is used for the transport—4G, MPLS, etc.—the goal is to drive efficiency across bandwidth use and to cut the need for pricy MPLS links. The typical challenge we see with MPLS is that companies have sites that are sometimes too small or just flat out not serviceable by the MPLS provider, perhaps because of a remote location. Why put up with poor performance? The fact is, ISPs can’t always provide reliable or quality bandwidth. SD-WAN can help manage poor connectivity performance and deliver the best possible service for what connections are available.

You control your wide area network traffic.

Many IT administrators look to SD-WAN for centralized management and a reduction in a lot of the manual tasks that MPLS requires. Centralized management means you’re more aware of problems the moment they occur, and it’s easy to make configuration changes on the fly. And, you’re armed with the information you need to make future decisions regarding your network.

SD-WAN is more resilient than MPLS.

Network problems? Crummy connection? SD-WAN uses multiple circuits simultaneously, and will just connect to a secondary internet connection, no problem. This takes just milliseconds to switchover. This means fewer connections get lost and interrupted.

It offers integrated security.

Integrated security is music to any IT professional’s ear. SD-WAN comes with built-in security like real-time threat defense, encryption and firewall protection. And it’s designed to make it easy for you: it integrates with cloud provider’ systems, taking one less thing off your plate.

Policy-based routing

Policy-based application routing gives you the ability to route applications based on bandwidth requirements and quality. At the heart of this benefit is the need for better application performance overall. With SD-WAN, you can create policies that switch transports as needed, immediately—something not available with destination-based routing. This will help you prioritize applications or network traffic, and determine how your traffic connects to the internet.

A superior experience

For businesses who are on the fence about SD-WAN, we’re convinced that in the coming years, it will be a no-brainer, especially as these businesses move more and more applications to the cloud. When this happens, they’ll want to guarantee uninterrupted access for end users, and ease-of-use for IT administrators. SD-WAN is just another way of taking advantage of the many benefits of the cloud.

Here at IT1, we can guide you in best practices for your cloud or hybrid cloud environment, including SD-WAN. Let us know if you have questions about your network environment. We are here to help.