White Paper. Complementing or Migrating MPLS Networks

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1 White Paper Complementing or Migrating MPLS Networks

2 Table of Contents 1. Executive Summary Complementing MPLS Networks Migrating from MPLS Networks with Elfiq s SitePathMTPX Calculating the ROI of the migration Conclusion Elfiq Networks 2

3 1. Executive Summary MPLS networks have been introduced by carriers to give organizations the ability to interconnect multiple sites so they are connected as if they were on the same internal network as the other sites by using local addressing schemes. Since the introduction and adoption of those networks, two common scenarios have been discussed by organizations. The first is how to complement them to maximize uptime in case of carrier failure, and the second is the cost analysis to migrate from MPLS networks to low-cost carrier links while maintaining reliability over the VPN. 2. Complementing MPLS Networks Like any other carrier service, MPLS networks can lose connectivity, and locations relying solely on MPLS connections will lose access to all corporate resources and the Internet. These events prove costly because servers are commonly found only at the datacenter as resources are migrated to virtualized environments. Employees are left without any connectivity, and until the service is re-established, productivity will be seriously impacted. Carrier links, regardless of whether they are public or private, will have the same strategic points of failure, which will impact an organization with only one using one type of connection technology. The Web page discusses these points, and diversification remains the best method of guaranteeing maximum uptime for the availability of any carrier network. Elfiq Networks Link Balancer appliances can bring a higher level of resilience to these environments by providing the ability to utilize multiple carriers and access technologies concurrently. With these devices, three scenarios are possible: 1- Using multiple MPLS carriers By using multiple MPLS links from multiple MPLS carriers, organizations can offset risk through diversification, and increased throughput is possible by balancing links on a per-session basis. The challenges of this approach include recurring monthly costs and carrier availability Elfiq Networks 3

4 2- Using a VPN link as a failover A common approach to redundancy, which can be cost-effective, is to combine a MPLS link with a VPN on a low-cost carrier link. This configuration enables both links to be used in failover or load balancing mode: when one of the two accesses fails, the other one handles all traffic until the problem is solved. Using an alternate technology to telco links such as cable modems mitigates risk since multiple carrier network infrastructures are used. 3- Using a large number of public and private links A unique characteristic of Elfiq s product design is the ability to run multiple virtual instances of the Link Balancer on the same hardware unit with a LB-2500E or greater model (www.elfiq.com/vfi). This can overcome the limitation of using one public link with one private in scenario 2, as one virtual balancer can handle multiple MPLS carriers and the second virtual balancer can handle multiple public links; even a third could be used for generic Internet access locally without the need for using the MPLS network(s) for such requests Elfiq Networks 4

5 3. Migrating from MPLS Networks with Elfiq s SitePathMTPX As low-cost carrier links become more available and their performance continues to improve at accelerated rates, many organizations are planning to move away from MPLS back to VPN over public links, but upload speed and reliability can prove to be challenging. Many DSL and cable modem carriers are limited to 768Kbps or 1Mbps in upload throughput, which can limit the efficiency of such a migration. SitePathMTPX from Elfiq Networks is an innovative approach to resolving both the performance and the downtime issues experienced by organizations with VPN deployments. At its core, Elfiq s Layer-2 implementation provides a seamless, transparent installation of the Elfiq Link Balancers in a customer environment without reconfiguring existing network devices residing on the carrier side of the network (WAN), namely firewalls, VPN gateways and routers. Elfiq Link Balancers can be used to their full potential to strengthen the VPN tunnel by exchanging SitePath information about real-time traffic information handled though each router installed at both ends. Once this exchange is configured and set into action, multiple routers can be used to transmit data from one end to another, providing two key benefits: 1. Performance enhancement: Since both units exchange link metrics, depending on the selected algorithm, the fastest available link can be selected to improve overall performance, eliminating the saturation bottleneck often experienced in VPNs. This performance improvement operates in both directions of the SitePathMTPX relationship. 2. Resilience: Should an ISP link fail, the local Elfiq unit will re-adjust the traffic flow to the available link(s) to ensure continuity and communicate to the other unit the change in available links, preventing a cancellation of the VPN session between the two sites and guaranteeing normal continuous operations even with an unavailable link. When the defective link returns to normal, it gets re-added to the list of links selected for SitePathMTPX Elfiq Networks 5

6 In the SitePathMTPX feature, the concept of a SitePath is one of the colored lines in the diagrams above, while a SitePath Group is all the SitePaths connected to another site. A single unit can have more than one SitePath Group connecting to multiple remote sites. Another function of SitePathMTPX is the ability to provide quality of service (QoS) for its traffic, to ensure enough bandwidth is available to provide the required service and also to prevent overutilization of the bandwidth by SitePathMTPX in certain contexts to ensure optimal bandwidth distribution. Unlike other technologies, this is transparent for any type of point to point traffic, where no VPN tunnel is created between each router, thus simplifying network design, consuming fewer resources and being completely agnostic. Also, SitePathMTPX tunnels can be encrypted in AES128 should the point to point application require a higher level of security but none exists. SitePathMTPX, combined with diversified carrier links from multiple carriers using multiple technologies such as DSL, cable modem, fiber and others, will improve performance and resilience and generate a lower monthly cost structure Elfiq Networks 6

7 4. Calculating the ROI of the migration The ROI for a migration from MPLS to Elfiq s Link Balancer approach can be calculated with this basic scenario: Before migration After migration A. Telecom carrier link costs annual all sites Sum of costs of MPLS carrier links Sum of costs of public ISPs B. Equipment costs for all sites Router costs and maintenance if applicable C. Year 2 & 3 costs Sum of MPLS and router maintenance costs Router costs and maintenance if applicable and Elfiq Link Balancer units deployed Sum of carrier costs and Elfiq maintenance costs D. Expected downtime (annually compiled hours) E. Cost of 1 hour of downtime (productivity + salaries) Based on SLAs and past experiences Internal organizational metrics Based on SLAs and past experiences this metric should be lowered if carriers are properly selected Internal organizational metrics Calculating ROI Take A + B + C + ( D * E * 3) to determine the cost impact for either network design; it is expected that the Elfiq approach will yield lower annual costs compared to the MPLS deployment. 5. Conclusion Point to point applications such as VPNs and VoIP have become not only commonplace but also critical to ensure normal business operations. To alleviate the two core issues of downtime and saturation in such deployments, Elfiq s SitePathMTPX feature provides a creative, robust, simple and non-intrusive answer to bringing performance and resilience to any organization in a very cost-effective manner. Where organizations are not looking to replace their MPLS network but augment it with an extra layer of performance and redundancy, Elfiq s products can make that happen with the use of multiple carriers and carrier diversification to provide the best possible scenario Elfiq Networks 7

8 Produced by Elfiq Networks Elfiq Networks is a technology leader and innovator in the field of WAN link management and balancing. With thousands of successful installations in over 95 countries, Elfiq s Link Balancer products help organizations of any type and size perform more competitively every day with the ability to use multiple Internet and private links easily and securely. For more information on Elfiq Networks products and technologies, please contact: Elfiq Networks 1155 University, #712 Montreal, Quebec, H3A 3A7 Canada Telephone: 888-GO-ELFIQ/ Internet: 1: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, , Cisco 2010 August 2011 Copyright 2011, Elfiq Networks (Elfiq Inc.). The contents of this document are protected by copyright. Any modification of this document, in any shape or form, is prohibited. Any redistribution, publication or derivation of the contents of this document without written authorization from Elfiq is also prohibited. All rights reserved. All names, trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Elfiq registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in Canada 2011 Elfiq Networks 8

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