The Growth of SD-WAN: Why Enterprises are Replacing MPLS with SD-WAN

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a technology that’s been around for a while but has seen an explosion in recent years as companies attempt to upgrade from Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). IDC estimates that the SD-WAN infrastructure market will reach $5.25 billion in 2023. But what Is SD-WAN exactly? 

According to Jordan Powers, Senior Solutions Architect at Computex, “SD-WAN is more of a cloud-type configuration approach where you can use policies” and “traffic shaping rules” that make it easy to connect locations. 

SD-WAN centralizes control over network traffic and directs it throughout the WAN to optimize performance. SD-WAN is highly agile and supports connection types ranging from MPLS and DSL cable to LTE.

There are many competitive SD-WAN providers on the market, with some of the top solutions, including Cisco Meraki, Cisco Viptela, VelCloud, and Silver peak. Cisco remains the largest provider, with an SD-WAN equipment market share of 16.2% recorded in Q2 of 2019.  

Why is SD-WAN Adoption Increasing Now? 

The sudden growth in SD-WAN adoption over the past few years has occurred as enterprises have become more aware of the management capabilities of the software-defined approach and its potential cost savings. 

Avant’s SD-WAN 6-12 Report polled 300 decision-makers in the US and found that the top three reasons for adoption were auto-failover and redundancy (66.8%), simplified management (61.0%), and cost savings over MPLS (57.7%). 

The prospect of reducing the costs associated with MPLS has encouraged many companies to make the transition to SD-WAN. “I think that the main reason why companies are going this route is because they see the cost savings now,” Powers began. 

“I’ve seen companies that are paying $2,000 a month for like let’s say one or two MPLS connections go down to $600 a month, for the same [or] similar connection and speeds, or maybe even faster speeds going broadband” Powers concluded. 

Is SD-WAN Right for Everyone? 

SD-WAN is a versatile technology that has a place within most organizations. Any company that desires centralized traffic management, increased network security, multi-site connectivity, and reduced costs will benefit from adopting SD-WAN. 

The technology provides customers with a cost-effective networking alternative they can use to future-proof their connections and move beyond the restrictions of MPLS. No bandwidth penalties and increased scalability enables SD-WAN to keep up with a company’s needs as they grow. 

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