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MEF Shows Off First Open Connectivity Service

Carol Wilson
7/25/2016

The MEF today is showing off the first of its Open Connectivity Services use cases to demonstrate how it is going beyond Carrier Ethernet to enable a broad range of services to be turned up across multiple technology domains and different service provider networks. (See MEF Announces Open Packet WAN Project.)

This initial project -- a Packet Wide Area Network (WAN) use case led by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Amartus -- builds on a multi-vendor reference design that includes open application programming interfaces (APIs) and an OpenDaylight controller, as well as the MEF 's Open Lifecycle Service Orchestration. The goal is to allow enterprises to easily turn up new packet WAN services that span technology domains and service provider boundaries as easily as they turn up cloud services today, says MEF's CTO Pascal Menezes.

"We have a number of these use cases going; this is just the first one we are putting out," Menezes told Light Reading in a phone interview. "What we have been doing with LSO is all about orchestrated services. The idea that a customer can come in, activate a service like the cloud guys can do and instantly make that happen within a service provider or between service providers is incredibly innovative in the way that customers expect."

Ultimately, the MEF use cases include everything from optical transport to cloud exchanges and data centers, to NFV and SD-WANs, all rolling out as public projects over the next several months. The organization is trying to take the expertise it developed for Carrier Ethernet and build on it, Menezes says.

"We are taking what MEF does really well, which is define service attributes, the information models and the service definitions, and applying that to IP services," he comments.


Take a closer look at Ethernet service strategies in our Ethernet services section here on Light Reading.

The Open LSO is at the heart of the effort, with the Presto APIs being defined for each of these use cases. Different types of services can be layered on top, alongside Carrier Ethernet -- starting with IP services but including security-as-a-service, cloud services and more.

"Packet WAN is the first use case where we can use Carrier Ethernet for E-line service, going through a service activation fulfillment model which can then go out and talk to packet APIs," Menezes comments. The enterprise connects through a portal, the LSO enables communications to the appropriate SDN controllers and those serve as the abstraction layer for connecting to WAN elements.

"The SDN controller talks to lower-level protocols -- whether it's CLI [command line interface], OpenFlow, NetConf or even an EMS underneath that," Menezes says.

The OpenCS Packet WAN project is using an OpenDaylight controller and involves ODL plug-us, as defined in the ODL UNI Manager project. The MEF group will be feeding information about its use cases, information models and operating models back into the ODL community through coordinated MEF contributions.

The intent is to enable a set of industry APIs that can deliver at the services level, regardless of whether the underlying hardware and systems are built on open source networking or vendor proprietary systems, Menezes says.

For the MEF, this series of use case announcements, following up on the hackathons, represent its new way of operating, working in conjunction with other open source groups but trying to ensure that what it calls the Third Network Services are enabled in the most efficient ways possible.

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

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