Re: How about for those of us new to MPLS?
This answer normaly deserves separate post but still I will try to give an answer here. Yes If you will choose an MPLS service, there are a lot of questions to ask to provider. Without going too much detail, I could tell that you should ask following:
- Is the MPLS service Layer 2 or Layer 3. If it is layer 2, then you need to handle your routing. It gives you more control compare to Layer3 MPLS VPN service but also you need to have trained network operators.
Layer 2 VPN since you have full control ( at least logically, transport network still belong to service provider ), you can tune your protocol timers, fast failure detection so on.
So convergence of your network might be faster since Service Provider may not want to tune aggresivelly or they may ask money for that.
On the other hand, if service is layer 3, and if you run a routing protocol or even static route , you interact with the service provider. One end of the routing protocol adjaceny is service provider anymore.
But in this case, since you do not need to control your own backbone, it is much simpler. You throw the complexity to service provider.
Which one might fit to where ?
At the edge of your network Layer 3 VPN might be choosen. Yet again, if you have skilled engineers, if you want total control of your backbone, if you don't trust entirely what service provider might do then almost in any case Layer 2 VPN should be choosen IMO.
Also you should check whether Service Provider SLAs match your need. If your network require end to end latency or tight high availability or QoS for certain traffic class , you should ask service provider SLAs for both service.
Hope to help since there might be more considerations but I tried to keep it simple and short.