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MEF's SD-WAN Service Standard Nears Finalization

Software-Defined Wide-Area Networks (SD-WANs) have taken off throughout the networking industry, representing the vanguard of the transformative software-centric movement that's disrupting old, traditional, hardware-based implementations.

But what is an SD-WAN?

According to industry association MEF, an SD-WAN service is:

An application-aware, policy-driven connectivity service, offered by a Service Provider, that optimizes transport of IP Packets over multiple underlay networks. MEF SD-WAN Services are specified using Service Attributes defined in this MEF Standard.

That's according to the Final Draft SD-WAN Service Standard that the group today (May 28) announced is generally available, after it announced it was taking up the task of defining an SD-WAN last November.

General availability of the final draft standard is the last step before the comprehensive document is finalized and published, which is expected in mid-July.

SD-WAN Components
[Click on image for larger view.] SD-WAN Components (source: MEF).

The purpose of the effort, the group said, is to "enable a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services." That will accelerate sales, market adoption and certification of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services offered by members including companies such as Cisco, Citrix, Fortinet, Infovista, Nokia/Nuage, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Versaware and VMware.

Potential benefits of the effort were listed as:

  • Reducing market confusion about service components, core capabilities, and related concepts, thus saving valuable time given the scarce availability of skilled personnel.
  • Enabling service providers and technology providers to focus on providing a core set of common capabilities and then building on that core resulting in differentiated offerings.
  • Facilitating inclusion of SD-WAN services in standardized Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) architectures, thereby advancing efforts to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services across multiple providers.
  • Paving the way for creation and implementation of SD-WAN services certification, which will give users confidence that a service meets a fundamental set of requirements.

"MEF already has begun work on the next phase of SD-WAN standardization (MEF 70.1), which covers more complex service attributes related to application business importance and prioritization, underlay network characteristics, and connectivity to private/public cloud services consistent with market priorities for SD-WAN services," the group said in today's announcement. "MEF also is progressing standards work focused on LSO APIs, application security, and intent-based networking for SD-WAN services."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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