Many, if not most, of the MEF's 120+ service provider members around the world are, or will soon be, offering SD-WAN as a service. This is an important and fast growing market and is therefore attracting many new service providers and technology vendors that attach the term 'SD-WAN' to their product offering.
This is exactly the point in a new market at which an industry-neutral standardization and certification organization such as MEF can provide the required clarity developed through consensus by leading SD-WAN players to enable customers to differentiate between offerings more effectively.
MEF has a 17 year-long proven track record of defining and certifying connectivity services for the WAN (telecom and MSO) market worldwide. MEF has been defining connectivity services since 2001 when it started work on standardizing Carrier Ethernet services based on an implementation-agnostic approach to defining abstract services, their architectures and service attributes. The Carrier Ethernet market has subsequently grown from zero to its current $80Bn market in large part based on the work of MEF. MEF has also introduced standards for Optical Transport and IP services to complement those of Carrier Ethernet services.
MEF also has in place a well established and very successful certification program for Carrier Ethernet services which began in 2005 (CE 1.0) and was extended in 2012 (CE 2.0) with hundreds of services and products certified by 150+ service providers and vendors.
MEF 3.0 certification was introduced in 2017 to enable certification of all MEF 3.0 defined services including SD-WAN services.
MEF is working on SD-WAN in three parallel tracks:
- Standardization of SD-WAN service and its attributes
- Implementation of different use cases of SD-WAN including multi-vendor interoperability
- Certification of SD-WAN services and products
By creating a standard that defines what is an SD-WAN service and its attributes, MEF is firstly enabling a wide range of stakeholders in the SD-WAN ecosystem to use the same terminology when assessing, deploying and delivering SD-WAN services. This substantially reduces market confusion and also acts as the basis for addressing the emerging shortfall in skilled personnel throughout the rapidly growing SD-WAN market.
Secondly, standardization of SD-WAN services enables providers and vendors alike to focus on providing a core set of common capabilities, and to build on that core with differentiated offerings, thereby reducing the burden on those providers and vendors to constantly educate their new customers.
Thirdly, standardization of SD-WAN services enables far more rapid inclusion in standardized lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) architectures thereby accelerating automation and the ability to deliver agile, assured multi-domain services (MEF 3.0).
Fourthly, standardization of SD-WAN services is an essential pre-requisite for building and implementing certification of SD-WAN.
Just as with CE 2.0 certification, MEF 3.0 certification will allow both SD-WAN solution vendors and SD-WAN service providers to differentiate themselves by demonstrating compliance with MEF SD-WAN and LSO standards.
The pilot phase of the the first MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification is planned for 1Q2018. Companies interested in participating in the pilot phase should contact email@example.com.
To accelerate the development and certification of MEF 3.0 services, including SD-WAN services, MEF members collaborate in implementation projects that culminate in regular showcases (PoCs). These MEF 3.0 Implementation Projects provide several benefits:
- Providing timely feedback to the MEF standardization teams on what is required and comments on current standardization efforts.
- Creating software-oriented artifacts that can be used by MEF members and in open source projects to accelerate implementation of MEF standards.
- Enabling MEF members to adopt MEF 3.0 standards more quickly through use case implementation templates.
Specifically, MEF has a MEF 3.0 Multi-Vendor SD-WAN Implementation project with participation with several of MEF's leading SD-WAN vendors and service providers. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.