MEF unveils MEF 3.0, eyes orchestrated, automated network focus

Ethernet network
The new framework, which was revealed at its MEF17 show, provides an on-demand, cloud-centric experience with user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.

ORLANDO, Florida—MEF has introduced its MEF 3.0 Transformational Global Services Framework, a platform to define, deliver, and certify orchestrated services across what it calls a global ecosystem of automated networks.

The new framework, which was revealed at its MEF17 show, incorporates the mix of standardized services with the group’s emerging suite of LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs to provide an on-demand, cloud-centric experience with user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.

MEF 3.0 is composed four main elements:

Standardized, orchestrated services: The MEF 3.0 service family includes dynamic Carrier Ethernet, wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, security as a service, and other virtualized services that will be orchestrated over programmable networks using LSO APIs. MEF 3.0 CE R1 is the first release within the MEF 3.0 framework. New work on standardizing orchestration-ready wavelength, IP, SD-WAN, and security services is currently progressing within MEF.

Open LSO APIs: MEF’s LSO Reference Architecture guides agile development of standardized LSO APIs that enable orchestration of MEF 3.0 services across multiple providers and over multiple network technology domains (e.g., Packet WAN, Optical Transport, SD-WAN, 5G, etc.). MEF recently announced the release of two LSO SDKs (software development kits) that feature interprovider APIs for address validation, serviceability, and ordering and an intraprovider API for network resource provisioning. The LSO APIs included in these SDKs are available for experimental use by MEF members and associated MEF programs.

Service and technology certifications: MEF is increasing the agility of its popular certification programs to accelerate availability and adoption of MEF 3.0 certified services and technologies. Delivered by MEF’s testing partner, Iometrix, MEF 3.0 certifications use an advanced cloud-based virtualized test platform that empowers subscribing companies to certify that their services and technologies comply with the latest MEF 3.0 standards.

Expanded community collaboration: MEF is working with many of the largest service and technology providers, open source projects, standards associations, and enterprises to realize a shared vision of dynamic services orchestrated across automated networks. MEF has created a new compute, storage, and networking platform, MEFnet, that enables development, testing, integration, and showcasing of prototype MEF 3.0 implementations using open source and commercial products. MEFnet projects will help accelerate the understanding and adoption of MEF 3.0, as well as provide immediate feedback for standards development within MEF.

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Building on CE 2.0 (Carrier Ethernet 2.0) and other standards efforts, MEF 3.0 expands upon CE 2.0 services and technologies. About 150 companies, including 100 service providers, sell CE 2.0-certified solutions that form the core of the estimated $80 billion annual global market for CE services and technologies. A key focus for MEF 3.0 is providing a path between CE 2.0 and the new specification.

“Our focus is to make it clear how existing CE 2.0 certified companies can migrate to MEF 3.0,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO of MEF, in a release.

Meanwhile, service providers like Verizon see the MEF 3.0 specification as a way to drive its SDN/NFV service program further. Verizon continues to virtualize more parts of its network while expanding the availability of SD-WAN and related security and software services for business customers. The telco has set a plan to reduce operational costs by $10 billion over the next four years, and it is going to leverage network virtualization to drive that initiative forward.

“As a contributing member of MEF, we are confident the comprehensive framework envisioned by MEF 3.0 covers the critical areas needed for the next generation of innovation in SDN/NFV based services,” said Shawn Hakl, SVP of business products at Verizon, in a statement. “Standardization of the orchestration and interoperability of software based services will help providers launch products which provide the quality, visibility, and control that customers demand.”