MEF Advances Multi-Carrier Service Orchestration
LOS ANGELES – MEF is pleased to provide a progress update on the standardization of orchestration-ready Ethernet, IP, SD-WAN, and Layer 1 services that form a core element of the MEF 3.0 transformational global services framework introduced in November 2017. MEF has published two new MEF 3.0 Ethernet and IP specifications, progressed two major MEF 3.0 SD-WAN projects, and moved closer to finalizing a MEF 3.0 Layer 1 service definition specification as soon as 3Q18. These are important steps toward realizing the MEF 3.0 goal of defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated services across a global ecosystem of automated networks.
"Expansion of MEF 3.0 standardization work beyond Ethernet to include IP, SD-WAN, and Layer 1 services is critical for enabling the streamlined interconnection and orchestration of a mix of connectivity services across multiple providers," said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF. "Combining this work with the ongoing development of our emerging suite of LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs will pave the way for orchestrated delivery of on-demand, cloud-centric services with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities."
MEF has enhanced the family of current MEF 3.0 Ethernet services by publishing the Managed Access E-Line Service Implementation Agreement (MEF 62), which defines a new service with a specific set of management and Class of Service (CoS) capabilities designed to accelerate service provisioning and to simplify management of services that traverse multiple operators. The MEF 3.0 Managed Access E-Line (MAEL) service is derived from the MEF 3.0 Access E-Line service specified in MEF 51.
MEF 62 reduces ordering and provisioning complexities when a service provider requires an Operator Virtual Connection (OVC) service from an operator by defining a MAEL service with a simplified set of CoS requirements – e.g., a single CoS name per OVC – coupled with a simplified set of management requirements for SOAM fault management, SOAM performance management, and latching loopback. By leveraging the management capabilities in the MAEL operator’s network, MEF 62 also intends to eliminate the need for a service provider to deploy hardware – e.g., a NID – at the subscriber’s location to monitor services.
"MEF 62 simplifies interconnection between service providers and wholesale operators while enhancing Ethernet access services by providing a robust set of management capabilities," said Vincent Alesi, editor of MEF 62 and Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Verizon. "MEF 62 will also provide a basis for standardizing LSO APIs for orchestration of the MAEL service."
AT&T, Bell Canada, Canoga Perkins, Ciena, Cisco, HFR, and Zayo joined Verizon in contributing to MEF 62.
Although IP services are widely deployed, until now there has been no standard definition of attributes that can be used to describe subscriber (retail) or operator (wholesale) IP services. This has made it difficult for IP service providers to interconnect with each other and represented a major obstacle to automating IP service ordering and management between providers.
MEF has published the Subscriber IP Service Attributes Technical Specification (MEF 61) as the first in a planned series of MEF 3.0 IP specifications aiming to address these challenges. MEF 61 specifies a standard set of service attributes for describing IP VPNs and Internet access services offered to end-users and will be used as a starting point for defining attributes for operator IP services.
MEF 61 introduces IP UNIs and IP UNI Access Links for describing how a subscriber is connected to a service provider as well as IP Virtual Connections and IP Virtual Connection End Points for describing an IP-VPN or Internet access service between those UNIs. Specific service attributes and corresponding behavioral requirements are defined for each of these entities. These include support for assured services – e.g. multiple classes of service, with performance objectives for each class agreed using a standardized set of performance metrics in a Service Level Specification. Bandwidth Profiles that can be applied to IP services are also described, allowing the bandwidth assigned to each class of service to be agreed in a standard way.
Albis-Elcon, Ceragon, Ciena, Coriant, Cox, Ericsson, HFR, RAD, TELUS, TIM, Verizon, Zayo, and ZTE joined Cisco in contributing to MEF 61.
The next phases of MEF 3.0 IP work include two new projects focused on operator IP service attributes and IP service definitions.
MEF currently has two major SD-WAN initiatives underway that are aimed to maximize market growth potential: the Multi-Vendor SD-WAN Implementation project and the SD-WAN Service Definition project.
The first project is focused on addressing the rapidly growing problem of orchestrating services over multiple SD-WAN deployments that are based on different technology vendor products. MEF member companies – including SD-WAN vendors Riverbed, Velocloud (now part f VMware) and Nuage Networks from Nokia and software development services provider Amartus – are collaborating to use MEF’s new, standardized LSO Presto Network Resource Provisioning (NRP) API to meet these interoperability challenges.
In the second project, MEF members are collaborating to develop an SD-WAN service specification that defines the service components, their attributes, and application-centric QoS, security, and business priority policy requirements to create SD-WAN services. This initiative is led by Riverbed and VMware/Velocloud with major contributions from Fujitsu.
MEF is in the final phase of the review and approval process for a new specification that defines the attributes of a subscriber Layer 1 service for Ethernet and Fibre Channel client protocols – used in LAN and SAN extension for data center interconnect – as well as SONET and SDH client protocols for legacy WAN services. Nokia, Bell Canada, Cisco, and HFR have contributed to this project.
Although Layer 1 services are widely available, service providers use their own terminology to describe them (e.g., “Wavelength Service” or “Optical Wavelength”), and they lack standardized service attribute definitions. This makes it difficult for subscribers to compare service offerings and acts as an obstacle for efficient interconnection and inter-provider orchestration of Layer 1 services. Subscribers can benefit from standardized Layer 1 services in the same way they can benefit from standardized Ethernet, IP, and SD-WAN offerings.
Work already is underway on a companion specification defining Operator Layer 1 services between a UNI and an OTN ENNI (access) and between two OTN ENNIs (transit). This will provide the basis for streamlining the interconnection of multi-domain Layer 1 services.
MEF members are also working on a MEF 3.0 Optical Transport Implementation project that is designed to accelerate the adoption of LSO APIs for orchestrating MEF-defined Layer 1 services. Led by NEC and Nokia, this initiative involves the LSO Presto NRP API, which leverages ONF’s TAPI model for network resource activation and topology.