That’s what SD WAN does, and why it’s not a replacement for MPLS. A hybrid WAN made up of a variety of connectivity types based on location needs and SD WAN to intelligently manage the flow of traffic is the way to go. That means you shouldn’t compare the cost or security of SD WAN vs. MPLS. You need to compare the mix of access types of SD WAN against the needs of your business and determine the network infrastructure combination that can help you achieve your goals.
When you’re connecting large data centers together, you’re not going to use broadband, which only offers best effort. You’ll need to use a big, powerful connection with reliable service levels — MPLS. Chances are, that’s something you already have.
By using SD WAN as an overlay solution, you can take your existing infrastructure and help it run more efficiently. SD WAN is application and user aware, which allows it to route traffic over the most effective path for high performance and low latency in near real-time.
Mission-critical applications and data will still be sent through MPLS, while lower-priority apps like email can be sent over the public internet. Should there be an issue with your MPLS, SD WAN can reroute your data through alternative channels, giving you the redundancy you need without the cost of maintaining redundant connections.
When considering SD WAN vs. MPLS costs, keep in mind that SD WAN will help you reduce some of your MPLS costs, but not all of them. It certainly won’t help you eliminate MPLS; you still need that reliability. What SD WAN can do is help you mitigate the need to scale your expensive MPLS to meet your connectivity needs by instead letting software help maximize your current investment.
In addition, the question of SD WAN vs. MPLS security isn’t a matter of either/or. MPLS is a private network, which means that it isn’t exposed to outside hackers via the internet. Meanwhile, SD WAN encrypts data to provide a secure overlay that’s independent of transport. Together with traditional network security capabilities like secure web gateway services and next-gen firewalls, MPLS and SD WAN work together to help keep data safe and sound.
When it comes to your network, MPLS is part of the connectivity component. SD WAN manages the traffic. Ultimately, it’s not especially useful to compare SD WAN vs. MPLS one-to-one—they’re complementary technologies: that is, one is not a replacement for the other. And more importantly, one is not going to cannibalize or replace the other.