MEF is the driving force enabling agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services for the digital economy and the hyper-connected world. The Third Network concept combines the agility and ubiquity of the Internet with the performance and security of CE 2.0 networks. Third Network services provide an on-demand experience with user-directed control over service capabilities and cloud connectivity. These new services are delivered over automated, virtualized, and interconnected networks powered by LSO, SDN, NFV, and CE 2.0.
Industry Leaders Embrace Third Network Vision
Two years after MEF launched the Third Network Vision, the paradigm shift from static connectivity to dynamic/agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services is well underway. Dozens of service providers currently are offering on-demand connectivity services and NFV-based virtual services or are planning to do so during 2017-2019. Leading service providers, technology vendors, open source projects, standards organizations, and others have warmly embraced the Third Network Vision and are collaborating with MEF to accelerate the industry transition.
Service providers want to provide Third Network services over automated, virtualized, and interconnected networks more closely married to the cloud. Many want to make these services available on a global basis without being constrained by the limits of their own physical network footprint. But to expand service reach and deliver more dynamic services, they need a standards-based approach that facilitates interoperability with other providers and supports end-to-end service automation with open APIs.
MEF is uniting industry efforts to enable service providers to orchestrate on-demand services across multiple providers and multiple technology domains (e.g., Packet WAN, NFV, SD WAN, etc.) within a single network provider. Orchestrated inter-provider services, in particular, have true game-changing potential for service innovation, competition, and revenue generation.
Key MEF Work Areas
MEF members currently are involved in more than 40 ongoing Third Network projects and initiatives in four major work areas:
Third Network Services
MEF is expanding beyond current CE 2.0 services to drive development of orchestrated Layer 1-3 connectivity services (e.g., wavelengths, CE 2.0, and IP) and orchestrated Layer 4-7 cloud services (e.g., NFV-based virtual security, etc.).
LSO & Open APIs
In 2Q 2016, MEF introduced the LSO Reference Architecture with open APIs to automate the entire service lifecycle for coordinated management and control across all network domains associated with delivering end-to-end services. LSO development will enable service providers to transition away from today’s silo-structured BSS/OSS approach towards flexible end-to-end service orchestration that unleashes the power of SDN and NFV.
MEF currently is advancing work related to LSO interfaces, open APIs, operational processes, and information models required for orchestrating services across multiple technology domains within a single operator and across multiple service and cloud providers.
MEF is playing a major role in aligning the ecosystem of industry standards and open source players to accelerate the industry transition to Third Network services. Over the past year, MEF has launched new open initiatives and expanded existing open programs to maximize collaboration involving MEF members, open source projects, and other SDOs. Open initiatives include the UNITE collaboration program, LSO Hackathons, OpenLSO (Open Lifecycle Service Orchestration) and OpenCS (Open connectivity Services) reference implementations, and the MEFnet compute-storage-networking platform on which OpenLSO and OpenCS projects are implemented.
Under the UNITE program, MEF recently released a new white paper – “An Industry Initiative For Third Generation Network and Services“ – spearhead by MEF's CTO Pascal Menezes and co-authored by ON.Lab, ONOS, OPEN-O, OpenDaylight (ODL), the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), and TM Forum. The white paper (1) explores business drivers for Third Network transformation, (2) describes key attributes of the Third Network, (3) explains the LSO-based framework for coordinating all of the moving parts to create Third Network services, and (4) spotlights major work areas that require industry collaboration to ensure orchestrated services operate reliably across multi-operator networks.
Highly successful in helping create the $80 billion CE market, MEF’s certification programs for services, equipment, and professionals are now evolving to accelerate the industry transition to Third Network services powered by LSO, SDN, and NFV. MEF is transitioning to an “orchestrated services” certification program and aligning equipment and professional certification programs with that as well. Stay tuned for certification news in 1H 2017.
Roopa Honnachari, Industry Director, Business Communication Services & Cloud Computing Services, Frost & Sullivan
“What we see today with this important strategic announcement from the MEF is that the whole industry is behind the Third Network and working in collaboration to develop end-to-end LSO as the enabler to make it happen. The transition to agile, assured, and orchestrated services for the hyper-connected world is now truly underway.”
Erin Dunne, Director of Research Services, Vertical Systems Group
“Operators worldwide are actively integrating SDN and NFV into their networks in order to support advanced capabilities like dynamic Ethernet connectivity that are not possible to deliver using legacy service infrastructures. The MEF’s initiatives combining CE 2.0 as a foundation, LSO, plus Open Source provide operators with an essential standardized framework to help drive the industry transition towards more flexible network services.”