Editor's note: In this three-part series, Robert Sturt discusses the steps enterprises need to take when assessing a global MPLS network procurement strategy. The series examines the importance of devising a strong business case before talking to prospective providers. In part one, Sturt lays the groundwork and talks about MPLS reach and diversity. The author has also made available a step-by-step guided approach to global MPLS network procurement.
The wide area network (WAN) is not a single entity; it has dozens of moving parts, all of which must be considered when designing a customized multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network architecture. To make sure you're successful in your approach, it's important to understand how each specific part of your business aligns with the overall capability of your WAN infrastructure. As with any complex procurement project, a diagnostic approach, which aligns business with technology, is required to ensure a successful outcome.
Never view any network as separate
The key is that no network -- regardless of its role -- should be viewed as a silo. Yet within a majority of enterprises, IT operates exactly like that. The result is often just another "IT solution" that meets a need at that particular moment in time but not the needs required by the wider business in the future. When we view IT as a collective and create MPLS network services based on the specifics of a given business, the result is a capability and not just another solution. This approach is critical for global organizations with complex supply chains.