SD-WAN vs MPLS

How One Company Migrated from MPLS to SD-WAN?

Nick Dell is an IT manager who recently led a network transformation initiative at his company, moving from MPLS to SD-WAN. Dell shared why he made that transition and the lessons he learned along the way in the webinar SD-WAN Confessions: How I migrated from MPLS to SD-WAN. We’ve also summarized his experiences here.

The company Dell works for is a leading manufacturer in the automotive industry and has nine locations and more than 2000 employees. The company has critical ERP and VoIP applications that run in the cloud.
When Dell started with the company, there was an MPLS network where the provider placed three cloud firewalls at different datacenters. “We were promised, if one firewall goes down, the system will failover to the other, and each location will have LTE wireless backup,” says Dell. “The provider also committed to managing everything on our behalf.”

Issues arose about a year into the MPLS contract. One problem stemmed from overuse of the bandwidth at certain peak times, prompting the need for more bandwidth. A more serious issue was the planned failover processes weren’t working as expected, causing system outages. “We were supposed to be connected to the Internet at all times and this just wasn’t the case,” laments Dell. “People couldn’t record production; they couldn’t ship trucks. It was a big problem affecting our business.”

Read more: mpls vs sd wan

And the problems began to mount. “We needed connectivity to our OEMs, and our vendor could not get a simple VPN tunnel from the cloud firewalls to our customer. We got so frustrated, we just abandoned it,” says Dell. “We couldn’t even get fiber at some locations when we needed more bandwidth. It made us realize that not all carriers can get everything you need in certain areas.”

Mobility was another issue. “We were getting blocked switching from wired to wireless, and they couldn’t fix it without an additional investment in new software plus agents on our laptops,” he says. That’s when they began looking for an alternative to their existing WAN.
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