How to Monitor MPLS to SD-WAN Migrations

Alyssa Lamberti
Alyssa Lamberti Last updated on Dec 16, 2022

How to Monitor MPLS to SD-WAN Migrations

In Summary

Monitoring MPLS to SD-WAN migrations is one of the most common network monitoring use cases because of the growing dependence on SD-WAN networks to deliver traffic. When undertaking an MPLS to SD-WAN migration, it’s important to monitor network performance before, during, and after to ensure the migration goes smoothly. Keep reading to learn how!

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

This article is part of a series of articles about continuously monitoring SD-WAN networks before, during, and after migrations. The articles include:

Why Migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN?
Why Migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN?

Businesses are moving to cloud-based applications, which increases our reliance on the Internet to deliver WAN traffic. And MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) networks just can’t keep up.

As a result, many businesses are migrating from MPLS networks to hybrid WAN architectures and SD-WAN technology. Some reasons include:

  • SD-WAN delivers higher bandwidth than MPLS networks because it relies on the Internet connection to deliver performance instead of private links. This also means it has better local access to the Internet.

  • SD-WAN networks are flexible and can support the increasing use of SASE architectures and cloud-based applications, which MPLS networks cannot support.

  • SD-WAN reduces costs by providing the flexibility to route data along the best available path, and can route data directly through the cloud.

Why Monitor MPLS to SD-WAN Migrations?
Why Monitor MPLS to SD-WAN Migrations?

One mistake that businesses make when migrating from MPLS to SD-WAN is lacking visibility over their networks to:

  • Ensure there are no issues prior to the migration
  • Identify issues during the migration
  • Compare performance of the previous MPLS network with the new SD-WAN network
  • Understand if your new SD-WAN network is meeting the SLA

Keep reading to find out how to monitor your MPLS to SD-WAN migrations using end-to-end Network Monitoring.

For continuous monitoring of your SD-WAN network and to make sure your SD-WAN service is performing as promised, check out our article on How to Monitor SD-WAN Networks.

Step 1. Deploy a Network Monitoring Software
Step 1. Deploy a Network Monitoring Software

Monitoring MPLs to SD-WAN migrations requires a level of depth that can’t be reached by most traditional monitoring tools. That’s because you need to monitor:

  • Before your migration (your MPLS network)
  • After your migration (your SD-WAN network)
  • Every decentralized network site

That’s why we recommend a network monitoring solution, like Obkio, which continuously monitors end-to-end network performance with synthetic traffic using Network Monitoring Agents.

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Step 2. Monitor the MPLS Network
Step 2. Monitor the MPLS Network

When performing an MPLS to SD-WAN migration, it’s important to deploy your monitoring solution before the migration, in your MPLS network, so you can compare the performance before and after the migration.

To do so, you need to deploy Monitoring Agents, which are a unique software that measure performance from one location (your computer or your office) up to the destination (another office, datacenter or clouds) to identify network problems.

To monitor network performance prior to your migration, we recommend deploying:

  • 1 Local Agent per network location: Data centers, remote offices etc.
  • 1 Agents between network locations: Remote offices and your company’s headquarters, data centers or clouds

Monitor MPLS to SD-WAN Migrations

Step 3. Identify MPLS Network Issues
Step 3. Identify MPLS Network Issues

The Agents then create Monitoring Sessions by exchanging synthetic UDP packets between every 2 sets of Agents to measure performance metrics and raise alerts for when network issues are detected.

At this point, you can identify network issues that could cause problems during the migration process.

If you do find anything suspicious, it’s important to troubleshoot before the migration.

3 Most Common SD-WAN Issues

Many people rely on SD-WAN networks, but they’re still prone to network issues. Learn about the 3 most common SD-WAN issues and how to solve them.

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Step 4. Monitor the MPLS to SD-WAN Migration
Step 4. Monitor the MPLS to SD-WAN Migration

Once you’ve deployed your issues and troubleshooted any issues, it’s time to migrate from MPLS to SD-WAN.

In the screenshot below, you can see an example of a branch office that migrated from a dedicated low-bandwidth MPLS connection to an SD-WAN service with two broadband connections.

There is a local monitoring agent in a branch office, with a monitoring session towards a monitoring agent located in a data center.

SD-WAN Migration with Obkio Monitoring

In this example, the branch office migrated from a dedicated low-bandwidth MPLS connection to an SD-WAN service with two brandband connections.

  • The migration occurred in the middle of the graph (around 18:20).
  • A few minutes later, around 19:00, the SD-WAN service switched from the primary ISP to the secondary ISP due to high packet loss for about 15 minutes.
  • There is just a little bit of packet loss during the failover because it took a few seconds for the SD-WAN appliance to failover.

Step 5. Compare Performance After the MPLS to SD-WAN Migration
Step 5. Compare Performance After the MPLS to SD-WAN Migration

Once you’ve migrated from your MPLS network, you need to compare performance with your new SD-WAN network to understand if your new service is performing as promised.

Obkio collects historical network performance data, so you can analyze, compare, and troubleshoot network performance from the past to understand the effect of the MPLS to SD-WAN migration on your network.

For example, the screenshot below shows a congestion problem on an MPLS network which was resolved thanks to the increase of bandwidth on the telecom link. Branch office 10 migrated from an MPLS connection to an SD-WAN service, which occurred at about 17:12 (where the tooltip appears).

MPLS to SD-WAN Migration with Obkio Monitoring

Obkio’s Network Response Time Graph and VoIP Quality Graph show a clear improvement in performance directly after the SD-WAN migration is completed.

Step 6. Monitor the SD-WAN Network
Step 6. Monitor the SD-WAN Network

After you’ve successfully completed your MPLS to SD-WAN migration, continue to monitor performance from the end-user perspective, as well as the underlay connections themselves, to see how your new SD-WAN service is performing.

SD-WAN Monitoring Setup

You can then collect data to identify SD-WAN network problems after the migration, and while continuously using your SD-WAN network.

You can learn more about that in our next article of the series on How to Monitor SD-WAN Networks.

How to Monitor SD-WAN Networks

Learn how to monitor SD-WAN networks with Network Monitoring to get complete visibility over your SD-WAN service and identify SD-WAN issues.

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Prepare for an MPLS to SD-WAN Migration
Prepare for an MPLS to SD-WAN Migration

Continuously monitoring your network is the #1 way to prepare for an MPLS to SD-WAN migration.

SD-WAN migration monitoring using Network Monitoring is an essential risk management tool to identify issues in your MPLS network that may affect your migration, track network health during, and compare performance after your MPLS to SD-WAN migration has been completed.

After your migration, keep monitoring your SD-WAN network with Obkio to proactively identify SD-WAN issues!

Get started with Obkio's Free Trial!

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