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How auto repair chain accelerates networking with SD-WAN

Clint Boulton | July 7, 2016
Service King Collision Repair Centers is phasing out its MPLS system as the primary networking provider for SD-WAN appliances, says its CIO.

Kramer says his staff configures Silver Peak appliances at the Service King headquarters and ships them to each location where they are racked, connected and turned on either by general managers or IT staff.

Now Kramer is mulling whether to use MPLS as a back-up service, and rely on AT&T’s U-Verse as its broadband service. “Can [Silver Peak] stand on its own through DSL services or are we better served having MPLS as a secondary service?”

Why SD-WAN is the choice for SaaS

MPLS is a proven service. It’s just not the right service for today’s evolving business architecture. Since replacing frame relay systems as a networking standard 10 years ago, MPLS has built a solid reputation for connecting networks from branch to branch, particularly as more businesses adopted VOIP communications.

MPLS was "perfect for the client-server model," in which organizations hosted applications in their own data centers, says Brad Casemore, an IDC analyst who covers networking technology. However, that MPLS architecture is not suited for cloud applications, introducing latency as companies access software over the internet from a number of vendors, Casemore says. But as a native broadband technology delivered over the Internet, SD-WAN is primed for cloud apps.

A few hundred Silver Peak customers are using SD-WAN services to migrate to SaaS applications such as and Office 365, says CEO David Hughes. “As cloud has become more important, people need to rethink how they build their networks,” Hughes says.

Today, Silver Peak competes with startups such as CloudGenix, VeloCloud and Viptela. However, traditional MPLS providers, such as AT&T, Verizon Business and Sprint are watching SD-WAN closely. Verizon earlier this year began selling a hosted SD-WAN service powered by Viptela.

By the end of 2017, at least five global carriers will have incorporated SD-WAN as a key component of their managed network service designs, according to Gartner. The researcher also says that 10 percent of enterprises will have replaced their WAN routing with SD-WANs by the end of 2018.


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