Thursday, May 31, 2018

MEF advances MEF 3.0 Ethernet, IP, SD-WAN, and Layer 1 Services

Work continues to advance on MEF 3.0, which is the global services framework unveiled last November for “defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks.”

MEF reported progress on the standardization of orchestration-ready Ethernet, IP, SD-WAN, and Layer 1 services that form a core element of the MEF 3.0.

Specifically, 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.

“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.”

Here are some highlights:

MEF has just published 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.

AT&T, Bell Canada, Canoga Perkins, Ciena, Cisco, HFR, and Zayo joined Verizon in contributing to MEF 62.

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. It 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.

“The immediate value of MEF 61 is that it establishes common terminology and provides the ability to standardize service level agreements for IP services with customers,” said David Ball, editor of MEF 61 and Senior Software Architect, Cisco. “In the longer term, MEF 61 provides the basis for specifying operator IP service attributes, and it will enable standardization of LSO APIs for orchestration of IP services across subscribers, service providers, and wholesale operators.”

Albis-Elcon, Ceragon, Ciena, Coriant, Cox, Ericsson, HFR, RAD, TELUS, TIM, Verizon, Zayo, and ZTE joined Cisco in contributing to MEF 61.

MEF 3.0 SD-WAN -- there are two major SD-WAN initiatives underway: 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 of 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 VeloCloud, now part of VMware, with major contributions from Fujitsu.

MEF 3.0 Layer 1 -- 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.

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.

What is included in MEF 3.0

There are four spokes to the MEF 3.0 wheel
       

  • Standardized, Orchestrated Services - including Carrier Ethernet, wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, Security-as-a-Service, and other virtualized services that will be orchestrated over programmable networks using LSO APIs. MEF 3.0 CE R1 is the first release within the MEF 3.0 framework, while work on standardizing orchestration-ready wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, and security services currently is progressing within MEF.
  •         Open LSO APIs - MEF’s LSO Reference Architecture guides the agile development of standardized LSO APIs that enable orchestration of MEF 3.0 services across multiple providers and over multiple network technology domains (e.g., Packet WAN, Optical Transport, SD-WAN, 5G, etc.). MEF recently announced the first releases of two LSO SDKs (software development kits) that feature inter-provider APIs for address validation, serviceability, and ordering and an intra-provider API for network resource provisioning. The LSO APIs included in these SDKs are available for experimental use by MEF members and associated MEF programs.
  •         Service and Technology Certifications. MEF is increasing the agility of its popular certification programs to accelerate availability and adoption of MEF 3.0 certified services and technologies. Iometrix continues as MEF’s testing partner, but the certification process is now being virtualized and taken into the cloud. A subscription model will be used for that vendors and carriers will be able to certify that their services and technologies comply with the latest MEF 3.0 standards. This should speed up the certification process considerably from days to minutes.
  •         Expanded Community Collaboration. MEF is working with service and technology providers, open source projects, standards associations, and enterprises to realize a shared vision of dynamic services orchestrated across automated networks. MEF has created a new compute, storage, and networking platform – MEFnet – that enables development, testing, integration, and showcasing of prototype MEF 3.0 implementations using open source and commercial products. MEFnet projects will help accelerate the understanding and adoption of MEF 3.0, as well as provide immediate feedback for standards development within MEF.

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