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Companies Collaborate for Common SDN Business API Standards for Orchestrated Services

March 06, 2017

Working along with the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and TM Forum, AT&T, Orange, and Colt Technology Services are in the process of releasing the first set of standard APIs for orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services. The goal for these companies is to accelerate the adoption of software defined networking (SDN) across the industry to have a single platform in which products and services can be deployed with greater speed, reliability and uniformity by different vendors around the world with interoperability.

According to the initiative proposed by the organizations, they will be using the MEF's LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) framework and TM Forum's Open API framework. An LSO enables real-time automation, monitoring, and service assurance for a wide range of network-based services. It makes this possible using a set of technology standards and products that provide orchestration and management integration among network systems, management software, and telecommunications IT software platforms.

The platforms and standards of LSO can be integrated with SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) for better visibility and automation of network services. This is one of the directives of the initiative, to enable SDN architectures from different network service providers to interoperate with each other. The first successful SDN interoperability trial proving that SDN architectures from different network service providers can interoperate with each other across continents was carried out by AT&T and Colt.

Once the success of the proof of concept was announced, the companies involved in the trial along with MEF and TM Forum started spearheading the effort to establish a set of standardized APIs so it can be used by the industry as a whole.

“Our research shows that the number one issue impeding the delivery of on-demand services is the need for a standardized approach to orchestrating services across multiple provider networks. This initiative led by industry leaders to collaboratively standardize on APIs for Ethernet services is an essential step toward tackling this challenge,” said Rosemary Cochran, Principal, Vertical Systems Group. 

With this new standard, service providers will no longer have to use different systems and interfaces in order to manage the disparate technologies currently deployed by the many different vendors around the world. The issues of compatibility in the traditional system not only created friction, but it also introduced a level of inefficiency when end-to-end services were being deployed.

The standardized APIs will now allow them to work with each other's SDN architectures in near-real time when the first round of APIs are slated for release at the end of 2017. The parties involved said, “This is a key step toward enabling orchestrated on-demand services over more automated and interconnected networks.”

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