Nuage Networks, Versa Networks and Infovista are the first vendors to sail through MEF's SD-WAN certification process, which is administered by Spirent Communications.
By garnering certification, the three SD-WAN vendors proved their services comply with MEF's SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) standard that was published last summer after two years of development.
The MEF 70 standard defines a common terminology and the various attributes for an SD-WAN service. MEF 70 describes SD-WAN as a service instead of detailing the underlying protocol level implementations.
At MEF19 in November, MEF announced its SD-WAN Certification Program for service providers and vendors. The MEF 3.0 Certification program allows service providers and technology providers to validate that their SD-WAN services and products are meeting the requirements of the MEF 70 standard. The certification tests service attributes and the behaviors defined in MEF 70 and described in the upcoming MEF SD-WAN Certification Test Requirements (MEF 90) standard.
“SD-WAN is gaining incredible excitement and momentum for empowering digital transformation,” said MEF President Nan Chen, in a statement. “We congratulate Nuage Networks, Versa Networks, and Infovista for achieving MEF 3.0 certification and demonstrating that they are a standards-based partner for service providers developing SD-WAN services. We look forward to continued momentum with the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification program, including the announcement of our first group of certified service providers later this quarter.”
Providing a baseline of what SD-WAN is and then testing the defined attributes helps customers, service providers and vendors cut through the noise of the more than 60 SD-WAN vendors that are currently in the market. The goal of the certification process is to give customers that buy MEF 3.0 certified SD-WAN services confidence that those services meets MEF's definitions and attributes.
According to research by Heavy Reading, 73% of the 125 surveyed service provider professionals believe that SD-WAN services certification is "critical" or "important" for accelerated SD-WAN growth. Out of that same group, 76% believe SD-WAN services certification is also critical or important for market growth
Last year MEF and Spirent started a pilot program for certification that included seven service providers and technology vendors. At MEF19, MEF said it would announce the results of that pilot program early this year, which resulted in Tuesday's news that Nuage, Versa and Infovista have passed.
"We have passed all of the Spirent tests already," said Versa's Kumar Mehta, co-founder and chief data officer, in an interview with FierceTelecom last month. "At a high level, you define the service definitions, and the policies and based on that the application steering happens. You certify for service definitions and then certify for components and policies and application flows."
While MEF didn't announce on Tuesday which service providers have passed the SD-WAN certification, it does have employees from SD-WAN vendors such as AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast Business, Orange Business Services and Colt Technology Services on its board of directors.