LSO Sonata and SDN: Better Together

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Today we can order products from online retailers and have them delivered within a few hours. We can order a taxi or other online services without a human involved and can stand up resources in public clouds within minutes. Why is it then, that making a simple change to a telco service is still so manual? It can take days and even weeks with back-and-forth conversations to determine feasibility and price before a complex process to manually update a number of systems can affect the requested change.

There are alternatives to the manual processes. Leading providers have been and are busy building user-friendly, automated platforms that allow customers, enterprises, and wholesale providers to use a portal to provision and change Carrier Ethernet, private cloud connectivity, and Internet Access services within minutes.

APIs are a critical part of these initiatives, both exposing them to customers as well as consuming them from partners. Unlike traditional consumption models where APIs improve efficiency and quality, APIs are non-negotiable in an SDN-centric environment to meet customer experience expectations. Therefore, for SDN services, integrating partners at scale is very necessary.

Historically API integration in the telco space, especially when integrating multiple providers, has been expensive in terms of time and cost. Despite exposing the same business functions for equivalent products, each provider had an API that looked subtly different from the others, behaved differently, and expressed products in different ways. An attribute would be called “bandwidth” in one provider’s API and “CIR” in another’s. This meant customization for each partner API and resulted in API integration happening only where the volume of business was high.

The MEF LSO Sonata standards address these three pain points and, for the first time in the industry, allow providers to economically integrate with one another at scale:

  1. Clearly defined business behavior
    The Business Requirements and Use Case standards for the business functions are clear in how the APIs should behave. They address from which attributes must be provided and how they should be used, to how an object should change state through its lifecycle.
  2. Clearly defined message envelopes
    Message envelopes are specified in Open API definitions and Developer Guide standards, explaining how these envelopes relate to the structures and attributes given in the Business Requirements and Use Case standards.
  3. Rigorously defined product payloads (MPM and MPS)
    Specifying configuration of the service to be delivered is detailed so there is no room for error and aligned to the MEF standards for Carrier Ethernet, and soon for other services.

Colt Technology Services has implemented MEF LSO Sonata APIs for Address Validation, Site Selection, Product Offering Qualification, Quoting, and Product Ordering. Thanks to the high-quality assets produced within MEF, the development process was relatively straightforward, and testing with the MEF LSO API Onboarding & Interop Test (OIT) Service helped tremendously to ensure they worked correctly.

Now standardized APIs can be used to deliver and change services in minutes, with no human intervention. The result is a great set of APIs backed by an award-winning agile delivery platform – two things that are, quite simply, better together.

Learn more about MEF LSO APIs.

Learn more about the MEF LSO API Onboarding & Interop Test Service.

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Fahim Sabir

Product Engineering Leader | Colt

Fahim is a product engineering leader at Colt with over 15 years experience in the architecture and development of telecoms and cloud platforms. He is currently responsible for developing Colt’s Network On Demand platform, including the underlying network orchestration, customer facing portal, and external APIs. Fahim has been an active contributor in the MEF LSO Sonata API standards since work began on the topic, and can boast that he led the Colt team in getting the world’s first MEF LSO Sonata seller-side API implementation into production.