Industry first: AT&T and Colt team up on deployment of MEF's LSO Sonata

After several years of development, AT&T and Colt Technology Services are laying claim to being the first carriers in the telecom industry to implement MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Sonata Application Programming Interfaces (APIs.)

LSO Sonata APIs for carrier-to-carrier services have been in the works for several years. While AT&T and Colt are the first out of the starter blocks with LSO Sonata, Orange and Verizon have also kicked the tires on using the APIs.

Using the LSO Sonata APIs is a potentially groundbreaking moment for the telecom industry because it enables automated ordering of Ethernet connections across another carrier's network. By using the Sonata APIs, customers will start seeing faster provisioning times, ramping up new Ethernet services in minutes instead of days or weeks, and an enhanced provisioning process that can provide additional status information on orders.

Using a programmatic API-to-API interface, the LSO Sonata APIs allow service providers to automate and provision their services between their separate software-defined networking (SDN) architectures.

The APIs allow carriers to reach beyond their physical networks to offer on-demand services, such as Carrier Ethernet, to customers that are doing business outside of their own footprints. The LSO Sonata APIs enable the network-to-network interface (NNI) engagements.

As of today, AT&T can place automated orders for Colt’s Ethernet Services using MEF’s LSO Sonata APIs. This enables AT&T to validate site addresses, check service availability, get quotes, and place automated orders on Colt’s network.

"The globalization of business requires us to evolve to be able to continue giving our customers the service and experience they need to operate efficiently," said George Sloan, vice president, AT&T Global Connections and Alliance Management. "This will change how carriers interact with each other and operate in the industry. This will help our interactions become more cost-efficient, flexible and error-free."

"The LSO API integration has been tested in the production environment and is ready to use, however no customers have been implemented yet following this mechanism," said Colt's Mirko Voltolini, head of network on demand. "AT&T plans to start placing orders shortly."

Colt is having discussions with AT&T in regards to ordering Ethernet services across the latter's network. "However, there isn’t that capability at this stage," according to Voltolini.

Sloan said there has been significant interest in the API capabilities, and that AT&T expects to have live customers soon. AT&T and Colt completed the development and issued the first test orders in March and have been doing further testing since then, according to Sloan.

At MEF 17 two years ago, AT&T, Orange, Colt and a handful of vendors showed a proof-of-concept demonstration using the LSO Sonata software development kit (SDK) to provision Ethernet services across AT&T and Orange's SDN architectures. During MEF 18 in October, Orange, Colt and AT&T said they would have their respective LSO Sonata implementations, mainly E-Line services, available in the first quarter of this year.

Two years ago at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, AT&T, Orange Business Services and Colt announced they had formed an orchestration partnership that would allow them to provide Carrier Ethernet services across each other's SDN architectures using TM Forum and MEF LSO APIs.

In March, Colt Technology Services and Verizon conducted a trial of two-way, inter-carrier network orchestration of Carrier Ethernet services across each other's networks using LSO Sonata.

While AT&T and Colt are claiming to be the first to implement the LSO Sonata APIs to automate ordering, future announcements between AT&T, Colt Orange Business Services, and Verizon would seem to be forthcoming.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a long journey. This project started as a proof of concept (PoC), and it is incredibly exciting to reach this stage,” said Voltolini, in a prepared statement. “We are proud to have been part of this process from the beginning. With the adoption of LSO Sonata APIs in our production network, we are improving efficiencies, reducing manual processes, and helping to improve how we all work together as an industry.”

RELATED: MEF tunes up LSO Sonata in a developer release, defines SD-WAN and bows enterprise community

The LSO Sonata standardization effort is being conducted under the auspices of the MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework. After putting the LSO Sonata APIs out in October as a developer release, MEF today announced the availability of the LSO Sonata SDK (Software Development Kit) Release 3 with APIs for inter-provider serviceability, product inventory, quoting, and ordering.

Simultaneously, MEF also today announced its pilot MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata certification program for inter-provider service automation, with an initial focus on automating ordering of MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet Access E-Line services.

“Certified MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs will be the critical enabler for orchestrating MEF 3.0 services – starting with Carrier Ethernet and extending to SD-WAN, Optical Transport, and IP – across a global federation of automated networks,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF, in a statement. “More than 50 service providers around the world have voiced support for development and adoption of LSO Sonata APIs to realize time-to-revenue and profit goals. We expect a core group will participate in the pilot certification program, leading the industry shift from manual inter-provider processes to dynamic service automation.”