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MEF Publishes SD-WAN Standard

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Light Reading
8/21/2019

LOS ANGELES -- MEF is pleased to announce the publication of the industry's first global standard defining an SD-WAN service and its service attributes. SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) was officially approved by MEF members and ratified by the MEF Board of Directors at the organization's recent Annual Members Meeting. 

SD-WAN service standardization has been conducted within the context of the MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework. It is part of a transformational initiative to define, deliver, and certify a family of dynamic Carrier Ethernet (CE), Optical Transport, IP, SD-WAN, and security services orchestrated across automated networks using LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs. 

"Combining standardized SD-WAN services with dynamic high-speed underlay connectivity services – including Carrier Ethernet, Optical Transport, and IP – enables service providers to deliver powerful MEF 3.0 hybrid networking solutions with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities," said Nan Chen, President, MEF.

SD-WAN standardization has enjoyed public support from dozens of service and technology providers and has included important contributions from Nuage Networks from Nokia, Fujitsu Network Communications, Amdocs, Ceragon, Cisco, Colt, Futurewei, Silver Peak, TDS Telecom, Verizon, and other MEF member companies. 

What is in the SD-WAN Standard and Why is it Relevant?
The SD-WAN standard describes requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to determine how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks irrespective of the underlay technologies or service providers who deliver them.

MEF 70, among other things, defines:

  • Service attributes that describe the externally visible behavior of an SD-WAN service as experienced by the subscriber. 
  • Rules associated with how traffic is handled.
  • Key technical concepts and definitions like an SD-WAN UNI, the SD-WAN Edge, SD-WAN Tunnel Virtual Connections, SD-WAN Virtual Connection End Points, and Underlay Connectivity Services.

SD-WAN standardization offers numerous benefits that will help accelerate SD-WAN market growth while improving overall customer experience with hybrid networking solutions. Key benefits include:

  • Enabling a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services. 
  • Making it easier to interface policy with intelligent underlay connectivity services to provide a better end-to-end application experience with guaranteed service resiliency.
  • Facilitating inclusion of SD-WAN services in standardized LSO architectures, thereby advancing efforts to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services across automated networks. 
  • Paving the way for creation and implementation of certified MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services, which will give users confidence that a service meets a fundamental set of requirements.

Next Steps for SD-WAN Standardization
MEF already has begun work on the next phase of SD-WAN standardization – MEF 70.1 – that will be of high interest to many enterprises. This work includes defining:

  • Service attributes for application flow performance and business importance.
  • SD-WAN service topology and connectivity.
  • Underlay connectivity service parameters.

MEF also is progressing related standards work focused on:

  • Application security for SD-WAN services. 
  • Intent-based networking for SD-WAN that will simplify the subscriber-to-service provider interface.
  • Information and data modeling standards that will accelerate LSO API development for SD-WAN services. 

 

Roman Pacewicz, Chief Product Officer, AT&T Business 

"We're seeing a significant change in how customers are using SD-WAN now versus two years ago, and that evolution is what makes service standards from MEF so critical. Today, and moving forward, SD-WAN is about delivering application performance. As the underlying networks – Optical Transport, Carrier Ethernet, and IP – are under greater pressure to be more ubiquitous, easy to provision, on-demand and elastic, that is where the MEF 3.0 construct comes into play. MEF's role is creating a standards-based, intelligent network across multiple carriers that will eliminate friction as we work with each other to deliver application performance at the level of efficiency our customers are seeking."

Robert Victor, Senior Vice President of Product Management, Comcast Business 

"MEF 3.0 SD-WAN standardization is a critical contribution to the industry, helping eliminate obstacles to the market adoption of SD-WAN. MEF is committed to establishing a common terminology and set of standards for industry stakeholders.  We're excited to see how this helps speed our customers transition from legacy to next generation SD-WAN networks like Comcast Business's ActiveCore platform."

Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon

"SD-WAN is the way to interface policy with an intelligent software defined network, and standardization makes it easier for integration to work across multiple types of underlying transport services. What that means for our end customers is it lets them get a better overall experience relative to their applications, with support for a broader range of use cases, guaranteed service resiliency, and improved service capabilities in an always on, always connected world."

Mike Sapien, Chief Analyst, Ovum Enterprise Services

"The MEF SD-WAN standard efforts come at a good time as customer adoption starts to increase and service providers struggle to keep up with market demand. Hybrid networking, including SD-WAN services, can only grow in adoption and deployment, and having the same definitions and standard for comparison should make it easier for the providers and customers to understand the various service attributes and confirm feature alignment. Customers are becoming more aware of the more common features beyond routing, and having this standard as a reference will help in current and future deployments."

Jennifer Clark, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

"The momentum of SD-WAN adoption, along with the large and ever-growing community of players in the SD-WAN ecosystem – vendors, service providers and enterprises – has created an information vacuum in terms of how we deploy SD-WAN over multiple underlay connectivity services and across multiple service provider networks. The MEF SD-WAN standard is the first step to addressing this vacuum with a common language by which we can define SD-WAN services and service attributes. This and the MEF follow-on SD-WAN standards are the building blocks leading to a MEF SD-WAN certification process, which enterprise SD-WAN customers will need as they evaluate and deploy SD-WAN services."

MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service & Technology Certification Pilot

MEF remains on track to launch its MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification pilot program in 4Q 2019. This certification will test a set of service attributes and their behaviors defined in MEF 70 and described in detail in the upcoming MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Test Requirements (MEF 90) document. Service and technology companies interested in participating in the pilot should contact Daniel Bar-Lev, MEF ([email protected]).

MEF

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