Lately, there has been much in the press regarding MPLS and its future. Is it dead or is it a dying breed in the WAN ecosystem? Instead of generalizing about MPLS in the enterprise, it would be more useful to break down the enterprise into various market segments. Then, assumptions can be made about the viability of MPLS in that segment.
Here are some market segments that come to mind: law firms, Fortune 1000, defense companies, and retail. Let’s start with the retail industry. According to Stores.org, in 2012, the Top 100 retailers had 259,445 stores. Now, if we include retailers not in the Top 100, like Panda and Forever 21, the total number of stores is closer to 1 million. Is MPLS dead in the retail market segment? Or is it dead in the defense industry?
Personally, I think MPLS is alive and growing. No retail chain in their right mind is going to run a POS system on anything other than MPLS. The same is true for the defense industry. It’s not about dollars and cents, or bandwidth limitations; it’s all about security, period. Keeping diagrams of the next billion-dollar jet fighter off the public Internet is a no-brainer. Plus, carriers are getting creative and offering different flavors of MPLS.