MPLS – A nice but expensive solution II

This week’s Network World printed an interesting case study on an end-user moving away from MPLS (“Library system shushes MPLS for cheaper DSL”). They moved for many of the reasons I outlined in my post back in December.

In my comments, I suggested staying with MPLS if you were running centralized VOIP, but this Washington state public library system is bucking the conventional wisdom. To workaround the lack of QoS in broadband, they configured three cable/DSL connections at 13 sites and used Talari Networks gear to provide the reliability. They will have to manage multiple providers and their network will increase exponentially in terms of technical and administrative complexity. Yet, the library says its average monthly per site circuit bill will decrease from $3000 to less than $200! That’s significant!

The Talari devices, from the Mercury product line, aggregate and mux the discrete broadband connections. The devices monitor problems in each link and send packets over the most reliable path or multiple paths if no single path meets the preconfigured performance requirements. They said they’d also tried gear from Riverbed, which worked but did not provide the cost savings. The Talari gear cost the library $127,000 and the library expects to see a savings of $400K this year.