Pitt plans to focus on three general things at MEF: technical network functions virtualization (NFV) work; collaboration with NFV vendors and operators; and outreach to open source groups and standards bodies.
“The first is working with the CTO office on exploiting what we already have with NFV and LSO [lifecycle services orchestration],” says Pitt. “This is technical. The other two are about organizations and people.”
In terms of NFV and LSO, MEF published an LSO Reference Architecture & Framework in March 2016. And it published a white paper in November 2016 entitled “An Industry Initiative for Third Generation Network and Services.”
These documents lay the foundation for its technical work in NFV and LSO. Pitt will work with the existing framework that MEF has in place and help propel it forward. MEF is also expanding its networking purview from not only Carrier Ethernet work, but also work for the optical layer and IP layer.
“What we try to do in MEF is define the services; that’s something we’ve done and will expand,” says Pitt.
People & Organizations
Secondly, Pitt will tap his ONF experience to continue to bring together vendors and operators and expand MEF’s membership. MEF already has more than 200 members, including more than 130 service providers.
“The operational expertise of the MEF members is a real advantage,” he says. “What I’ve admired about MEF; they took a basic technology and said ‘you can create lucrative services’. And with this huge number of MEF members they’ve shown that is possible.”
Finally, his third focus is “more of an external ecosystem opportunity,” he says, referring to open source projects and standards bodies, whose work needs to be integrated. The organizations that collaborated on the November white paper pretty much comprise the external groups MEF will initially be working with. They include ON.Lab, ONOS, OPEN-O, OpenDaylight (ODL), ONF, Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), and TM Forum.
Back in September, Dave Ward, CTO of engineering and chief architect at Cisco, suggested that an umbrella organization over all the various open source groups working in SDN and NFV might be in order. Perhaps MEF will end up filling that role.
Another big focus of MEF is helping operators not only with their connections, but also with creating new services. Stan Hubbard, MEF’s director of communications and research, says, “We have this $80 billion market for Carrier Ethernet, and $50 billion is for services. It’s the most rapidly growing data services market.”
So MEF is working on APIs for both north/south technical connectivity as well as east/west for commercial services.
Hubbard says the commercial opportunities of LSO were of keen interest to MEF members at their most recent summit.