After having just spent months setting up a fairly complex VPN, I'm beginning to look at alternatives for the future. Some of my network providers use MPLS to connect to us, and I suppose it works fairly well. I know many ATM (automated teller machine) networks use MPLS, which I suppose it a vote of confidence for its security properties.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPLS_VPN is rather succinct:
"MPLS VPN is a family of methods for harnessing the power of Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to create Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). MPLS is well suited to the task as it provides traffic isolation and differentiation without substantial overhead.
Layer 3 MPLS VPN
A layer 3 MPLS VPN, also known as L3VPN, combines enhanced BGP signaling, MPLS traffic isolation and router support for VRFs (Virtual Routing/Forwarding) to create an IP based VPN. Compared to other types of VPN such as IPSec VPN or ATM, MPLS L3VPN is more cost efficient and can provide more services to customers."
My question is : how cumbersome / expensive is it to set up an MPLS network? Is it the kind of thing where you can buy the hardware and DIY, or do you really need to go to a service provider? I can get "managed" VPN's for $100/month right now (which I have no idea if this is good or bad), my five partner IPSEC "hairpin" topology thereby costs me 6,000 a year. Would that be better invested in MPLS?