MEF looks for workaround to connect different vendors’ SD-WANs

01 June 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Ethernet standards organisation MEF is to tackle the challenge of interconnecting software-defined services using different vendors’ systems by setting up a gateway.

Software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) vendors Riverbed, VMware’s VeloCloud and Nokia’s Nuage Networks along with software development services provider Amartus are taking part in the first phase of the project.

At the same time MEF is expanding its standardisation work on MEF 3.0 to take it beyond Ethernet to include IP, SD-WAN and Layer 1 services. This work "is critical for enabling the streamlined interconnection and orchestration of a mix of connectivity services across multiple providers," said Pascal Menezes, MEF’s CTO.

In order to simplify the management of services that traverse multiple operators, MEF has published what it calls MEF 62, a managed access E-line service implementation agreement that is designed to accelerate provisioning.

Vincent Alesi, a distinguished member of the technical staff at Verizon, said: "MEF 62 simplifies interconnection between service providers and wholesale operators while enhancing Ethernet access services by providing a robust set of management capabilities. According to MEF, AT&T, Bell Canada, Canoga Perkins, Ciena, Cisco, HFR, and Zayo joined Verizon in contributing to MEF 62.

MEF will document the implementation of the multi-vendor SD-WAN implementation project, which can be used by service providers to accelerate their adoption of SD-WAN within the MEF 3.0 framework, said the organisation.

Each vendor is implementing an SD-WAN based on its own products on MEF’s development and testing platform, MEFnet. They will interconnect them through a central gateway, which will bypass the lack of interoperability between SD-WAN controllers and SD-WAN edge devices from different vendors.

Joe Ruffles, Riverbed’s global standards architect, said: "Our customers – both service providers and enterprises – are increasingly concerned about how to manage multiple SD-WAN solutions involving multiple vendors and implementations."

Tim Van Herck, director of technical product management at VMware, said: "Mergers and acquisitions by service providers and enterprises are increasing the number of environments using more than one SD-WAN vendor’s solution. It’s not uncommon to speak with service providers that already have three or more vendor solutions for SD-WAN in their networks."

Alastair Johnson, principal solution architect at Nuage Networks, added: "With the market moving as fast as it is, it is essential that we smooth the way for introducing new SD-WAN solutions quickly without the concern of how to get them to operate further down the road."

In parallel with the SD-WAN implementation work, MEF members are working on a specification that defines the service components, their attributes, and application-centric quality of service, security and business priority policy requirements to create SD-WAN services.

Phase two of the multi-vendor project will see the participants add security functions to show how security-as-a-service can be added to an SD-WAN deployment.

Menezes said that this work is combined with developments that will lead to an "orchestrated delivery of on-demand, cloud-centric services with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities".


Topics: MEF, SD-WAN, Riverbed, VMware, VeloCloud, Nokia, Nuage Networks, Verizon, MEF 3.0