New IT considerations for network connectivity continue to evolve as technology fundamentally changes how businesses operate. Instead of being limited by a single network configuration like MPLS, advancements in technology and virtualization have allowed businesses to utilize different network architectures depending on specific needs. Understanding the nuances that define these various connectivity options is essential for optimal deployment. In the eyes of many, MPLS has become a legacy connectivity option giving way to newer solutions like SDN and SD-WAN. But despite the rise of virtualized environments, MPLS is still a viable option depending on a company’s network, business and end-user requirements.
Choosing the right architecture that aligns with business objectives, delivers a smooth user experience and is cost-effective can be a challenge. When deciding on connectivity solutions, there are various considerations that affect network design.
The Location of People & Data
Whether internal employees or external users, people tend to drive network decisions. Another common consideration is where the data is located. Geographic limitations, distance and user concentration are all major variables in network design. If data is clustered, utilizing the short path MPLS might make more sense. Conversely, if offices, data centers or servers are spread out across the country or globe, virtualizing with an SDN might be more cost effective, manageable and efficient.
What Data Is Being Transferred?
When deciding to build or evolve network architecture, knowing what percentage of data is structured or unstructured plays an influential role in the decision-making process. Because both types of data are likely in use, having the proper network to support both formats and deliver a positive user experience remains a huge consideration in developing an architecture.
Business Goals and End-User Requirements
The advantage of factoring in business goals and end-user requirements can’t be overstated. If the business is looking to expand, having scalable, flexible options provided by virtualized network could be more cost effective over time.
The Impact of the Cloud
With the introduction of the cloud, more users mean more influence on overall network design. This has resulted in an industry-wide shift towards delivering the optimal end-user experience. Factoring in a holistic perspective on current and future network requirements greatly impacts how enterprises consider building architectures. By properly assessing the overall end-to-end experience, companies gain crucial perspective on how the cloud and end-user will impact infrastructure design.
Best of Both Worlds
The best networks are often those that are the most flexible. In the case of connecting distributed geographies, a hybrid approach that ties in traditional MPLS as well as elements of SD-WAN could be the optimal design. The key is starting with requirements and then selecting providers that align with the service and location needs of the business.
For more on the MPLS, SDN or Hybrid debate, listen to our podcast.