MEF releases LSO Sonata, Presto software development kits, drives multiprovider Ethernet service orchestration

Ethernet cable
These two software development kits are part of a broader effort by the MEF to simplify the Ethernet ordering process.

MEF is releasing two Lifecycle Service Orchestration software development kits that include standardized open APIs for orchestrating connectivity services across and within multiple service providers, breaking through the proprietary barriers to provision Ethernet across service providers.

These two SDKs, which include LSO Sonata SDK and LSO Presto SDK, are part of a broader effort by the MEF to simplify the Ethernet ordering process.

While service providers have had to order wholesale Ethernet from one another to satisfy off-net requirements for business customers, the reality is that the process can be very time-consuming.

RELATED: ATIS, MEF develop global Carrier Ethernet ordering pact

“In the LSO reference architecture that we defined in within the MEF 55 specification, there are seven reference points which are conceptual boundary points in the ecosystem,” said Daniel Bar-Lev, director of the office of the CTO at MEF, in an interview with FierceTelecom.

The interprovider and intraprovider LSO APIs included in these new SDKs are now available for experimental use by MEF members and associated MEF programs.

MEF LSO

Simplifying multiprovider Ethernet provisioning

With the LSO Sonata SDK, MEF hopes to help service providers provision Ethernet services across wholesale partner networks to fulfill out-of-territory requirements for business and carrier customers. Using ONF’s TAPI model for network resource activation and topology, MEF expects to publish the LSO Sonata NRP (Network Resource Provisioning) Interface Profile Specifications (IPSs) in a future release. In the first release, the LSO Presto SDK that includes the LSO Presto NRP API for Packet WAN implementations is now available on the MEF-Git.

“What characterizes LSO Sonata and the API is it’s that point between the service provider and the wholesale activity service partner domain where transactional types of interactions,” Bar-Lev said. “We’re talking about ordering, provisioning, and checking the availability of services for the particular location.”

While in some cases the process to order wholesale Ethernet could be automated, today it is largely manual. This results in lengthy times to have orders fulfilled.

“When it’s manual, we’re talking about transactional activities stretching out over months for Carrier Ethernet,” Bar-Lev said. “Automating that brings it down to minutes and is a huge impact for everyone working in manual mode.”

Bar-Lev added that while not every service provider is working in a manual ordering mode, service providers must write specialized APIs for every wholesale arrangement.

“They still have to write spoke APIs for each partnership they have, and that’s pretty wasteful,” Bar-Lev said.

The open LSO Sonata API standardization effort is being conducted within MEF in accordance with the LSO Reference Architecture and Framework and in partnership with TM Forum. Sonata is not just an experimental element.

LSO Presto already has support and input from various large traditional service providers and vendors. AT&T, Orange, Colt, CenturyLink, PCCW Global, Amdocs, DGIT Systems, Ericsson, iconectiv, Iometrix, and MEF software developer community members from Technion University contributed to the development of the LSO Sonata SDK release and/or demonstration of its related LSO Sonata APIs.

“What’s happened is that AT&T, Orange, Colt and other MEF members created a consensus about what those APIs should include and how to build them for Carrier Ethernet services,” Bar-Lev said. “This is a useful tool for service providers that are planning to automate or if they want to move away from bilateral types of APIs and move to a more industry-accepted approach and take the SDKs as a starting point.”

Intracarrier harmony

LSO Sonata SDK is just one of two SDKs MEF is releasing this week. MEF is also putting out Presto SDK, an SDK that relates to service orchestration over multiple network technologies within a service provider’s network.

Leveraging an LSO Framework, MEF members are working to create a suite of standardized LSO Presto APIs defined in MEF IPSs dealing with network resource provisioning, performance monitoring, and other functions over various technology domains (e.g., Packet WAN, Optical Transport, SD-WAN, 5G, etc.).

Within a service provider’s own network, these companies will often have various proprietary network management systems and operational support systems. These systems support Layer-2 and Layer-3 and optical infrastructure.

“Today, carriers will have legacy infrastructure, whether it’s optical Layer-2 or Layer-3 with network management systems or element management systems with a siloed BSS layer above that,” Bar-Lev said. “They will do a lot of work connecting those BSS and OSSs to those underlying EMSs, and change is expensive and painful.”

Bar-Lev said what’s helping to soothe the pain for service providers’ back office and provisioning systems within their networks is the advent of SDN and NFV.

“The introduction of NFV and SDN with its horizontal approach control of networks means there’s an opportunity to introduce lifecycle service orchestration,” Bar-Lev said. “It follows that same abstraction approach for EMS and OSS.”

Future releases of the LSO Presto APIs will evolve to support more technology domains, business requirements, and use cases. CenturyLink, Amartus, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, and Nokia are among the main contributors to the first LSO Presto SDK release.

Like the Sonata SDK, the Presto SDK is centered on cutting through proprietary red tape for Ethernet provisioning. The Presto SDK data transfer APIs give service providers more of an open environment to deploy services via standardized elements.

“The idea is if you standardize the APIs for things like network resource provisioning or service OAM, you do it once in an SDN controller and it does not matter what technology domains you have underneath,” Bar-Lev said. “It gives the service providers a lot more flexibility to how they integrate their existing and new infrastructures where it’s virtualized or legacy.”

The LSO Presto API is already supported within an OpenDaylight SDN controller plug-in contributed into the ODL UNI Manager project. It includes a reference implementation with the ODL SDN controller that demonstrates how a northbound application can provision an end-to-end network connectivity service between two endpoints in both a technology-agnostic and vendor-agnostic manner.

Presto is also being implemented in ONOS as well.

“We’re giving a starting point to the industry to look at and they can integrate it into their SDN controllers and IT systems,” Bar-Lev said.