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MEF Stewards SD-WAN Managed Services

It will enable consistent SD-WAN assurance, application performance and security policies.

MEF is seeking to impose a little order on the fast-and-loose world of software-defined networking (SDN) by becoming the official steward of a growing niche: software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) managed services.

Formerly called Metro Ethernet Forum, MEF is a nonprofit international industry association principally tasked with furthering the adoption of Carrier Ethernet networks and services. The group says it's "enabling service providers to create a global ecosystem of networks that deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated services for the digital economy and hyper-connected world."

In seeking to standardize managed services that provide SD-WAN functionality, the association said it will leverage its existing LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) Reference Architecture and Framework (MEF 55), which provides APIs to impose consistency of performance, policy and security of such services orchestrated across multiple provider networks.

The SD-WAN managed services arena features several industry players, including CenturyLink, Cato Networks, Masergy, Versa Networks, Silver Peak, IBM and more.

MEF said its SD-WAN service implementation community has already formulated six major SD-WAN managed services use cases as part of its OpenCS (Open Connectivity Services) SD-WAN Project work, to be followed up by LSO APIs that can "enable consistent SD-WAN assurance, application performance, and security policies, which include telemetry data feeding back into LSO analytic platforms for various AI automated use cases."

Companies spearheading that project include Riverbed and VeloCloud Networks, while Amartus, Cox, Fujitsu Network Communications, GBI, Huawei and Nokia/Nuage have also contributed. Furthermore, Silver Peak and Versa Networks recently joined as MEF members to also contribute to the SD-WAN work.

Along with guiding SD-WAN service implementations, MEF will also promote education efforts via the newly created SD-WAN Market Education Project, created to explain MEF's position on SD-WAN and how it relates to other initiatives dealing with orchestrated Layer 1-7 services enabled by LSO APIs. The association will provide educational materials such as white papers, webinars, workshops and use cases.

"Businesses are demanding WAN flexibility to control costs as they migrate applications to the cloud and see SD-WAN as an option to address this," said Pascal Menezes, CTO of MEF, in a statement last week. "To meet these demands and remain competitive, service providers are looking to integrate SD-WAN into a portfolio of orchestrated services delivered in a seamless, automated fashion. MEF is uniquely positioned to bring together managed service providers (MSPs), orchestration experts, and SD-WAN vendors to address this challenge and accelerate SD-WAN managed service deployments on behalf of the enterprises."

MEF said SD-WAN will be featured in proof-of-concept demonstrations, workshops, sessions and keynotes at the Nov. 13-16 MEF17 global networking event in Orlando, Fla.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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