Not to be left out when it comes to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), MEF plans to lead the charge to standardize SD-WAN managed services. It aims to ensure consistency of SD-WAN policy and security orchestrated across multiple provider networks.
“We’re early days of SD-WAN, not at tens of millions of subscribers,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO of MEF. Service providers are deploying SD-WAN with systems from vendors. “But they need to plug in to their overall system,” he said. “It’s primarily OSS [operation support systems] they need to plug into.”
He said MEF is uniquely positioned to bring together managed service providers, orchestration experts, and SD-WAN vendors to address this challenge.
It will do this standardization work as part of its overall lifecycle service orchestration (LSO), using open APIs. The standards organization will define SD-WAN service terminology, components, and implementations in the context of its LSO Reference Architecture and Framework — MEF 55.
Regarding service providers, Menezes said, “They have complex operational procedures. They’re obviously modernizing their OSS with LSO. They need to plug SD-WAN into LSO. That’s the work we’re taking on.”
To kick off its SD-WAN work, MEF established the Open Connectivity Services (OpenCS) project. It’s focused on providing use cases and business requirements to ensure that open standard LSO APIs can enable orchestration of SD-WAN managed services across multi-provider and multi-vendor implementations.
The OpenCS project is led by Riverbed and VeloCloud with contributions thus far from Amartus, Cox, Fujitsu Network Communications, GBI, Huawei, and Nokia/Nuage. Silver Peak and Versa Networks recently have joined as MEF members to contribute to the SD-WAN work as well.
MEF also wrote a white paper entitled “Understanding SD-WAN Managed Services.”
“There is no definition of what an SD-WAN is,” said Ralph Santitoro, MEF distinguished fellow and head of the SDN/NFV practice group at Fujitsu, who was principal author of the SD-WAN white paper.
Santitoro said service providers and vendors are using different terminology, and they are “kind of all over the map in terms of what it delivers.” The white paper describes some fundamental functions that SD-WANs should have as well as a number of popular use cases.
“Most SD-WAN leaders in the market have joined MEF; we have a large vendor community and large service provider community,” said Menezes. “We believe we are the right forum to lead this.”