There's movement afoot for MEF's LSO Sonata API as eight service providers are on track to be production ready for deploying Carrier Ethernet services by the second quarter of this year.
The list of service providers that are either preparing to deploy MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs or have already done so includes AT&T, Bestel, Bloomberg, Colt Technology Services, HGC Communications, Infonas, PCCW Global, Telefónica International Wholesale Services, and Sparkle. Of those eight, five are already using the LSO Sonata API, but MEF didn't name them. MEF said additional service providers would deploy LSO Sonata APIs by the end of the year.
Just about a year ago, AT&T and Colt Technology Services laid claim to being the first carriers in the telecom industry to implement MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Sonata Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable an inter-carrier Ethernet service.
Orange and Verizon have also kicked the tires on using LSO Sonata, but weren't mentioned in Wednesday's press release. FierceTelecom previously reported that Colt and Verizon planned to launch two-way, inter-carrier network orchestration for services across each other's networks in 2018.
LSO Sonata APIs for carrier-to-carrier services have been in the works for several years now. Implementing the LSO Sonata APIs at scale is a potentially groundbreaking event for the telecom industry because it enables automated ordering of Ethernet connections across another carrier's network.
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.
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. The full package of available and planned LSO Sonata APIs deals with serviceability—which includes address validation, site queries, product offering qualification)—product inventory, quoting, ordering, trouble ticketing, contracts, and billing.
In addition to LSO Sonata, MEF is also working on LSO Interlude, which, like Sonata is an east-west API, and LSO Cantata. LSO Cantata is an API between a service provider and an enterprise. Given its history of developing standards-based Ethernet services, Carrier Ethernet was a good starting point for LSO Sonata, and it could branch out to SD-WAN services.
The LSO Sonata standardization effort is being conducted under the auspices of the MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework. Late last year, MEF released a software development kit for inter-carrier services on MEF 3.30 LSO Sonata APIs.
In order to reach its full potential, LSO Sonata needs to be federated across a wide range of global service providers, which is still a work in progress.
"What I saw during pandemic was an unbelievable amount of collaboration across the industry," said Colt Technology Services CEO Keri Gilder, prior to Wednesday's press release by MEF. "We just really came together as a unified team of various organizations across the world in order to serve our communities. I would love to see that level of collaboration on MEF and the APIs. I don't believe we're there yet.
"I think that there are a select few companies, like AT&T, ourselves, and PCCW, that are advancing forward and really pushing the envelope. But I don't think we're there yet as an industry in order to understand what that standardization looks like and the belief that it can benefit the industry as we go forward. What I do know is that based upon the work we did do with the AT&T, I'm a true believer in automation, APIs and integrated capabilities in order to help serve our collective customer base."
MEF executives have continually pointed to their resume in bringing Carrier Ethernet services to fruition—to the tune of an $85 billion global market— and the recent SD-WAN standardization and certification efforts as proof that its is up to the challenge of pushing LSO Sonata out to wider global deployments.