MPLS: Has It Achieved Critical Mass?
by Zeus Kerravala
Posted 9/2004; Published 05/2004
There is absolutely no doubt that Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) has achieved a critical mass in the marketplace. At least, this is what service providers are likely to tell you. From a telecommunications carrier perspective, there is no turning back the tide; in fact, every regional Bell operating company (RBOC) and Tier 1 interexchange carrier (IXC) in North America has embraced MPLS as the cornerstone of its IP-VPN strategy—including Sprint, which previously carried a reputation for being the anti-MPLS carrier.
On the other hand, looking at the results from The Yankee Group’s recent 2003 VPN Deployment Strategy Survey of 258 enterprise IT managers, I can only conclude that these “gung ho” service providers, in their frenzied enthusiasm for MPLS, are perhaps not really listening to their customer base.
The single most salient data point in the survey is that IPSec has become the preferred carrier-managed VPN tunneling mechanism by nearly a 6:1 ratio over MPLS. This clearly is not rosy news for service providers, who are making multimillion-dollar capital investments in converged IP infrastructures with MPLS as the technology foundation.
On the flip side, carrier-managed VPNs were identified in the survey as the long distance WAN solution of choice in the next 12 to 24 months, chosen over internally managed VPNs and, even more conspicuously, over frame relay. Obviously, there is demand for managed VPNs, but what are the variables that enterprise managers should consider when deciding between IPSec and MPLS VPNs?
About the author:
Zeus Kerravala is vice president of the Yankee Group’s Enterprise Infrastructure Planning Service. His areas of expertise include working with enterprise customers to solve their business issues through the deployment of technology solutions.
This article is reproduced by special arrangement with our partner, Business Communications Review.
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