CenturyLink's Andrew Dugan lands seat on MEF's board of directors

CenturyLink headquarters
CenturyLink CTO Andrew Dugan says his company is looking to deploy intercarrier orchestration Carrier Ethernet services with another service provider. (CenturyLink)

MEF announced today that it has added CenturyLink's Andrew Dugan to its board of directors.

It has been a busy month for Dugan with his appointment as CenturyLink's new CTO after taking over that role from former CTO Aamir Hussain.

RELATED: Dugan takes over as CTO of CenturyLink

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Hussain, who was also an executive vice president at CenturyLink, has left the company. Prior to his departure, Hussain was on MEF's board of directors.

Andrew Dugan, CenturyLink

Dugan, who was named as one of FierceTelecom's top 25 mover and shakers this month and was voted as the top overall mover and shaker in a poll, was previously senior vice president of technology planning and network architecture at CenturyLink.

Dugan spent 19 years at Level 3 Communications in various roles, including as its CTO, prior to the company being acquired by CenturyLink.

“We are thrilled to see Andrew quickly join the MEF board of directors so soon after accepting his new role at CenturyLink. The board will be able to leverage his industry knowledge and expertise to gain a new perspective on how MEF 3.0 will impact the worldwide adoption of assured services across automated networks,” said MEF President Nan Chen, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to seeing the advancements that the vibrant MEF community will achieve in the coming year with the guidance and support of our world-class Board and leadership team.”

Dugan attended last month's MEF18 conference in Los Angeles, where he was featured as a keynote speaker and as a panelist. The big news at MEF18 was the announcement that LSO Sonata, which enables intercarrier orchestration of services such as Carrier Ethernet, is now available as a developer release.

AT&T, Orange Business Services, Colt Technology Services and Verizon have conducted trials for Carrier Ethernet services using the Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Sonata API. Colt, AT&T and Verizon plan to launch intercarrier orchestration Carrier Ethernet services early next year.

In this Q&A, which was edited for clarity and length, Dugan spoke to FierceTelecom about MEF, Carrier Ethernet services and the LSO Sonata API. In the second installment, Dugan will talk about the evolution of CenturyLink's use of SDN and NFV.

FierceTelecom: We just had MEF18 last month. Are there any particular areas that were talked about there that are of interest for CenturyLink?

Andrew Dugan: Pretty much everything that MEF is working on is something that we're absolutely interested in. I would call out LSO Sonata as being one of the areas that we're focused on. The part of LSO that we're highly interested in is the components that allow interworking between carriers for activation of services. The reason for that interest is that we see, not just within our network but across carrier networks, that customers are going to be attracted to the ability to turn up services quickly and manage those services. The API is between us and other carriers that enable that are pretty critical to not just our success, but I think the success of the industry going forward.

FierceTelecom: From what I understand, it takes a certain level of SDN to be in place in the network in order to enable intercarrier orchestration with another carrier?

Dugan: It does. The APIs themselves don't do you a lot of good without the control system that can leverage the APIs. We're in somewhat of a fortunate position in that we have a pretty mature set of SDN infrastructure that we've been building for several years that is a combination of the multiple companies that have come together as CenturyLink. Much of our internet infrastructure that we're positioning for our customers is already under a pretty high degree of SDN control, and that's the same infrastructure we plan to leverage with the LSO APIs.

FierceTelecom: Do you have a time frame for when you might do intercarrier orchestration with another service provider, and can you say whom CenturyLink might work with?

Dugan: The time frame is going to be dependent on our partners, and we have engaged with partners. We were engaged with partners before MEF18, but one of the things that we did get out of MEF18 is we need some more connections with other carriers that are interested in having conversations with us about implementing those APIs. We haven't publicly said who those partners are. It is a partnership, so I'm not sure that we want to make any announcements on behalf of others. We're a little bit cautious about saying who that is, but there are carriers across Europe and North America.

FierceTelecom: Would it be more ideal to do that type of service overseas using the former Level 3 assets, or in North America?

Dugan: No. I don't think it would be more ideal. I think they're equally ideal. We leverage AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers here in North America to get to a lot of our customer locations just like they leverage us to get to their customer locations. We do a lot of business with both North American and European carriers. They're equally important. If you look at our revenue rating between North America and Europe, our revenue rating is heavier in North America, so you might say North America might be even more important.

We don't look it that way, but there's more opportunity for us based on our existing customer base in North America. But they're equally important.

FierceTelecom: Colt, Verizon and AT&T are planning on doing Carrier Ethernet services first with the LSO Sonata API. Is that what CenturyLink is looking at doing first as well?

Dugan: Yes. I do believe that. That should be in conversations with the other carriers in terms of prioritizing the work that we do with them. Because Carrier Ethernet is the most mature service definition, I would expect that both parties are going to want to focus on that first. That's a lot of the services that we buy from each other today, and it has the most opportunity.

FierceTelecom: What about using the other LSO APIs such as Presto, Interlude and Cantata?

Dugan: Certainly, down the road. Because we've been building our control systems for several years, we've developed our own interfaces internally. We were not dependent necessarily on the MEF standards for those because we have them, but we are looking over time to evolve to the MEF standard APIs, even internally.

FierceTelecom: As a new member of MEF's board, are there other areas that you are interested in driving forward?

Dugan: There is the Carrier Ethernet work that continues, and that's a lot of what MEF has done historically. But getting to MEF 3.0 certifications, getting that widely adopted within the industry is something that we're going to be focused on as part of the MEF group overall as well as for CenturyLink.