MEF17: LSO APIs, SD-WANs and automation

I attended last week’s MEF17 conference in Orlando, where the telecom industry association¬†announced its MEF 3.0 Transformational Global Services Frameworkfor defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks”.¬†MEF members have been busy defining a set of APIs for Lifecycle Services Orchestration(LSO), with a strong focus on inter-carrier orchestration for delivering end-to-end services across multiple domains and these were discussed in many conference sessions and demonstrated by vendors and service providers in the Proof of Concept Showcase.

It was no surprise to hear everyone talking about delivering SD-WAN and other virtualized services, but because these are largely software-driven constructs, it’s critical that the industry adopt open standards in order to support multi-vendor, multi-carrier deployments. This is where the MEF plans to take a leading role, using its base of standards for inter-carrier Ethernet services as a springboard. Here’s a link to the MEF 3.0 video that describes the association’s global services framework, which encompasses not only service definitions and APIs but also an automated, self-service certification platform and a broad community of vendors, service providers, open source projects and other standards bodies.

Automation was the other hot topic at the event. In his keynote, MEF CTO Pascal Menezes stressed the importance of telemetry-driven analytics and machine learning (“AI analytics”) for automating service orchestration at the connectivity layer and for virtualized, overlay services. He also talked about using visibility and analytics to make networks application aware for intent-based service orchestration.

I am keen to track the MEF’s progress in 2018 as it works to define APIs that facilitate automation at both the service and network layers and I’m hoping we’ll see tangible results in this area prior to next year’s MEF18 event.