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MEF Mind Meld Unites Groups on NaaS

Carol Wilson

BALTIMORE -- The MEF has pulled together a coalition of industry groups, including top open source groups, into a single initiative focused on how to set up and deliver on-demand network-as-a-service capabilities across the carrier landscape.

MEF CEO Nan Chen's crowning moment in today's opening keynotes was the announcement of a white paper by this group -- hey folks, this is still telecom -- called "An Industry Initiative for Third Generation Network and Services," which is co-authored by MEF and a long roster of partner groups: ON.Lab , ONOS , OPEN-Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) , OpenDaylight , Open Networking Foundation , Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. (OPNFV) and TM Forum .

"This is an unprecedented ability for MEF to unite the industry to deliver a vision for the industry supported by other organizations, which many of you already know and participate in," Chen said. "I am really excited about this."

Oh Yes, He Did
MEF CEO Nan Chen was so excited about this announcement he repeatedly showed the punchline slide too early.
MEF CEO Nan Chen was so excited about this announcement he repeatedly showed the punchline slide too early.

Among the things this collaborative initiative will be tackling is the definition of key aspects of how telecom services providers deliver network-as-a-service (NaaS), to enable end-to-end interconnection of services across networks. That will include defining service information models, and delineating what needs to be universal, and what can be vendor- and service provider-specific. And it will create NaaS definitions themselves, much as MEF has defined Carrier Ethernet services, so there is a standard service metric for things such as multi-point connectivity NaaS using IP or MPLS options.

According to the white paper, the group is also tackling the definition of MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration functionality and standardizing the applications programming interfaces that enable support for legacy wide area networks as well as the newer virtualized functions and services.

The group builds on work that is already underway, such as that by the ONF and TM Forum, to create a set of standards-based APIs to enable higher-level orchestration of multiple technology domains both within operators (north-south) and between operator networks (east-west). According to the white paper, "The TM Forum and ONF have already realized a rich set of APIs from which the MEF will utilize APIs to deliver orchestrated Third Network services."

Ultimately the goal of the group is to bring the reliability, service assurance and security of today's Carrier Ethernet offerings to the world of agile, on-demand services, Chen said.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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