Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router – No. 3: It’s MPLS Contract Renewal Time

Silver Peak continues to count down the Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router in our homage to the iconic David Letterman Top Ten List from his former Late Show. Click for the #4,  #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 reasons to replace conventional branch routers with a business-driven SD-WAN platform.

The #3 reason it’s time to retire conventional routers at the branch: It’s MPLS Contract Renewal Time!

According to IDC, approximately 80 percent of business transactions are fulfilled from branch offices[*] and less than 20 percent directly from a headquarters site. For many enterprises, application downtime at the branch means lost revenue and sometimes even a lost customer if a competitive alternative exists. To meet the highest availability requirements, enterprises have traditionally provisioned two (or more) MPLS services at every branch, preferably from different service providers where possible.

Additionally, most branch offices also utilize a broadband connection to provide internet access for employees, customers and guests. While enterprises sometimes use broadband as a back-up transport, the WAN model based on conventional routers usually relies on redundant MPLS circuits, one provisioned as a backup and one often sitting idle.

As we learned from the previous blog in this series, The #4 Reason to Think Outside the Router,” a business-driven SD-WAN edge platform includes advanced features that overcome the application performance, reliability and security challenges with actively using broadband connections to connect users to enterprise applications.

Delivering high application availability – even with consumer-grade broadband

A business-driven SD-WAN edge platform that intelligently bonds multiple WAN transport services – whether MPLS, MPLS plus broadband or even multiple consumer-grade broadband services – into a single, shared logical resource can deliver statistically higher levels of application availability than can be achieved by using only a single MPLS circuit to carry traffic. A business-driven SD-WAN continues to carry the traffic without interruption across the remaining link(s) should an underlying transport service fail or experiences a brownout (excessive packet loss or latency).

The calculation for the combined statistical availability with two services is not that difficult to understand and is shown here where Ac is the combined availability.

Ac = 1 - (1 – A1) x (1 – A2)

Here’s an example. Assume two broadband services are provisioned, A1 with an availability guarantee of 99.5 percent and A2 with 99.0 availability. The first service could be unavailable approximately 44 hours per year, either due to a complete outage or due to falling below a packet loss or latency threshold – and it would still technically meet the provider’s SLA. The second service could be unavailable nearly 88 hours each year. For a global, 24 x 7 business, this level of downtime could result in a significant loss in revenue.

Ac = 1 - (1 - 0.995) x (1 - 0.99)

Ac = 99.995%

By combining these two moderately-available services with intelligent packet-based load balancing and the ability to deliver sub-second failovers, branch application availability increases to 99.995 percent which translates to less than 30 minutes of unavailability per year! Even consumer-grade broadband services often deliver this level of availability, allowing enterprises to confidently reduce their dependence on expensive MPLS services – without compromising business uptime and end-user quality of experience.

Pulling the plug on MPLS

As customers have experienced in production the high application performance and availability over broadband enabled by Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN advanced packet-based load balancing and advanced error correction techniques, many are allowing MPLS contracts to expire. Some continue with just a single MPLS circuit instead of two, augmented by broadband, while many customers have eliminated MPLS altogether at some or all of their branch sites.

Service providers often write MPLS subscription contracts for one to three-year durations. Often the subscription periods are not concurrent for enterprises deploying more than one MPLS service, but even if they are, MPLS contract expiration is a perfect time to evaluate the business benefits and ROI of a Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN. These benefits go far beyond the cost savings that can be realized by actively using lower-cost broadband services including:

  • Improved application performance and availability
  • Full bandwidth utilization of all available links
  • Increased business agility
  • The highest end-user Quality of Experience
  • Simplifying branch WAN edge infrastructure
  • Accelerating the enterprise’s journey to the cloud

Learn why the time is now to think outside the router and deploy the business-driven Silver Peak SD-WAN edge platform.