MEF releases LSO Architecture Framework
As service providers begin to deploy software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies into their networks, ensuring services across combined physical and virtualized infrastructure becomes a massive challenge that needs to be addressed.
In its recently published Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture document, the MEF aims to tackle this issue by establishing a standardized way of managing end-to-end services across multi-vendor and multi-domain networks.
What impact will it have on service providers?
According to CENX’s CTO, Chris Purdy, the work being done at MEF is vital to carriers as it assists them in their efforts to deliver agile and assured services.
“What [the LSO Reference Architecture] does is defines the major interfaces for both interactions between service providers, allowing services to cross those service providers, and interfaces happening from LSO to other elements, both northbound and southbound,” explains Purdy.
“There’s a tremendous amount of work happening to define the information models that those interfaces will use, and the standards that could allow for interoperability between all the different components.”
In today’s segmented market, customized implementations taking place in networks are forcing carriers to build unique solutions to help manage and support their operations. However, Purdy believes that can all soon change.
“By defining these standards with open interfaces, it essentially allows one company to build something once and use it many times,” says Purdy. “As a result, this can dramatically lower costs and improve the timeline to get these services available and out in the market.”
Service assurance within the LSO Framework
In the case of NFV, service providers have been investing resources into figuring out how to quickly spin up and integrate new virtual network functions (VNF) as a result of the opportunity the technology provides. This has left the service assurance aspect of operations to be largely overlooked.
However, an LSO approach provides an essential tool to service providers as it allows them to drive the transformation from legacy infrastructure to SDN and NFV with more totality, ensuring long-term success.
Additionally, according to Purdy, a significant portion of LSO is the assurance part, not just fulfillment.
“What I think is going happening is service providers who are starting to put these next-gen technologies into production are going to say, ‘Okay wait a minute, I can turn them on, but how can I ensure that they’re in place,” explains Purdy. “I think what the LSO framework is trying to do is understand what the components are, and how will it get all of that data.”
CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence
A complete LSO solution, such as CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence, collects and analyzes data from both physical and virtualized infrastructure to deliver real-time actionable intelligence, and provides the service deployment and assurance tools required to orchestrate data services across physical network functions and VNFs quickly and cost-effectively.
Of course, Purdy understands there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done before the MEF’s vision of a standards-based industry comes to fruition.
“When it ultimately comes to assuring and orchestrating services across networks, the MEF has to coordinate with other standards bodies and associations in order to ensure that all of the trends come together in a working solution.”