For the most part, IT organizations have continued to rely on expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technologies for wide area networking primarily because they are both more secure and faster than standard Internet connections. Silver Peak is now making it clear that MPLS networking days may finally be well and truly numbered.
Silver Peak today unveiled Unity EdgeConnect, an encrypted virtual network overlay that Silver Peak CEO David Hughes says complements the company’s wide area network (WAN) optimization technology in a way that enables IT organizations to rely more on secure Internet connections to transfer WAN traffic.
Hughes says IT organizations can make use of either a virtual or physical appliance to dynamically route traffic over an MPLS or Internet network that has been hardened using Unity EdgeConnect. That approach gives IT organizations the option to either reduce their dependency on MPLS networks or replace them altogether.
To complement those capabilities, Silver Peak also unveiled Unity Orchestrator software for defining WAN policies, and Unity Boost, an optional pack for boosting WAN performance. Pricing for Unity EdgeConnect, which includes Unity Orchestrator, begins at $199 per site, per month. Unity Boost is an optional performance pack that can be ordered on demand and is $5 per megabit per second (Mbps), per month.
In addition to the expense associated with MPLS networks provided by carriers, Hughes says the biggest frustration most organizations have with legacy MPLS networks is how long it takes carriers to provision them.
Hughes also notes that IT organizations can take advantage of data duplication and compression technologies to reduce the physical size of the data travelling across those networks.
Even though the cost of MPLS networks has fallen over the years, standard Internet connections are still a lot less expensive. The challenge is that from both a security and performance perspective, MPLS networks have been the preferred option for most enterprise-class networks. However, the degree to which that will continue as it becomes more feasible to deploy encrypted network overlays on standard Internet connections now remains to be seen.