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SD-WAN

Colt drifts off into an 'automation dream' with MEF's LSO update

Last week, MEF announced new capabilities for its Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs, more specifically to LSO Sonata, which supports the process of inter-carrier transactions for Carrier Ethernet services.

"We're solving for business to business – to have complete interoperability between any service provider, it's all uniform, open standards, fully interoperable and a federation style, which is many to many," says Pascal Menezes, CTO for MEF.

On the heels of MEF's recent update to its LSO Sonata APIs, Light Reading caught up with Colt's Fahim Sabir, technology director for the London division, to hear more on what Sonata's facelift means for MEF's service provider members. Sabir says Colt has been working with MEF for a number of years and was the first service provider member to utilize the LSO Sonata APIs in partnership with AT&T, with Colt on the wholesale seller side and AT&T on the buyer side. Sonata is also integrated into Colt's On Demand service, a customer portal for connectivity and IT services, so Colt can provide "straight through provisioning of services…and deliver that service within minutes," says Sabir.

"The part of the API that we've implemented is the feasibility through to order journey," he says. "These are the APIs around address validation, product offering qualification which allows AT&T to check whether a particular service is available at a particular location, quoting, which will give them the prices, and ordering."

MEF's efforts to standardize Ethernet services that "the whole industry can sign up to," makes for a smoother road to implementing APIs and inter-carrier services, says Sabir. It also allows operators to reduce the cost of future integrations with other service providers when they can all agree on "the definition of standards attributes where the values of and rules between those attributes is pre-defined by an organization that sits outside both carriers involved in that partnership. It does amazing things in terms of the cost and amount of effort to do integrations," he adds.

Over 23 service providers are in production with or currently implementing LSO APIs for automating inter-provider transactions within the next nine months, says MEF. AT&T and Verizon are among the operators utilizing LSO Sonata APIs, in addition to Axtel Networks, Bloomberg, China Unicom Global Limited, HGC Global Communications, Lumen, Orange, PCCW Global, Sparkle, Telefónica Global Solutions, Telia, Zayo, TELUS and more.

MEF says that the new "Billie" release for the LSO APIs initiative automates business functions such as "address validation, site query, product offering qualification, quote, product order, product inventory and trouble ticketing for Carrier Ethernet connectivity services."

"The true benefits are that nobody is involved in touching anything along that route, and that's all for the automation dream, which has been a dream of the industry for quite some time and we've now realized it," says Sabir.

Billing and settlement are among the functions that will be added in the future; MEF's Pascal Menezes says other connectivity services such as Internet Access, in addition to Carrier Ethernet, will be added later on as well in an effort to support the growing SD-WAN market, which utilizes a number of underlay connectivity options.

"In the next release we'll have the IP, broadband and Internet access for SD-WAN scenarios so people can ask for underlay APIs. A lot of SD-WAN service providers are global in nature and enterprises want the underlay and overlay managed," explains Menezes.

Service providers also now have access to a MEF LSO Onboarding and Interoperability Test (OIT) Service, provided by Amartus, which uses buyer and seller emulators to test LSO Sonata implementations. MEF members can also take part in a MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata certification program, which is provided by Iometrix. So far, Sparkle, TIME dotCom and Ufinet Telecom, S.A. have received MEF 3.0 LSO API Certification for Sonata Order APIs. Sabir says Colt plans on participating in this certification in the future to have that "seal of approval" for service implementation.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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