With more than 12 years in existence, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) isn’t a new technology, but it also isn’t a “table stakes” feature found in every network. MPLS was originally created for large service providers to speed up the flow of network traffic and ultimately simplify manageability. As with many new technologies, MPLS certainly wasn’t cheap when it was first introduced (in truth, MPLS prices were artificially inflated). And it was initially perceived as being complicated to set up and refine…ironic considering that it was designed to improve and simplify the network infrastructure. As with most technologies, MPLS eventually evolved into a solution that has become relatively inexpensive and straightforward to install. Even with all these improvements, however, there is still a lingering perception that MPLS is costly and that only large service providers have the need, know-how, and deep pockets to install it and achieve its full range of benefits.
The fact of the matter is that MPLS is flexible, fast, and cost-effective. It enables network segmentation and quality of service for latency-sensitive applications such as business-class voice and high-quality video. Today, Brocade has many enterprise customers that are taking advantage of these “service provider” capabilities and beginning their own corporate implementations, especially in distributed enterprises. Industry analysts predict double-digit growth for Carrier Ethernet in the coming years, and Brocade is dedicated to helping carriers transition to the advantages of the higher bandwidth and lower cost that Ethernet provides. Brocade Ethernet solutions have a proven track record in service provider networks—with more than 5000 Brocade routers deployed worldwide in carrier networks and Brocade solutions managing traffic in more than 70 MPLS deployments.
Bringing all this to reality, the Brocade NetIron CER 2000 Router, our newest router offering, provides high performance and scalable MPLS in an ultra-compact 1U form factor…a virtually unheard of combination until now. Demand for this new product has been startlingly high, especially for providers that are driving MPLS closer to the edge of their networks, delivering video over IP multicast and Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS).
From an industry perspective, the NetIron CER 2000 is the only router of its size that offers 10 Gigabit Ethernet and is priced at just a fraction of the cost of traditional cumbersome MPLS routers. In fact, it has twice the routing capacity, offers 33 percent space savings and 66 percent power savings, and provides almost three times better forwarding performance at half the price of comparable solutions—making it ideal for cost-effective cloud computing, for instance. These numbers equal not only CapEx and OpEx cost savings but also translate into the flexibility to innovate and deliver the types of services customers have been reading about for years but could never order. The result? An increasingly bright future for MPLS in both service provider and distributed enterprise environments.