Big Interview

Automating inter-provider service delivery with MEF LSO

Pascal Menezes.jpg

Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF, explores why service providers are embracing the LSO Sonata API's for inter-provider service automation.

Q. How would you characterise the broader market when it comes to service provider automation and what role do you see MEF playing?

Our industry is in the midst of a multi-year transformation to dynamic and assured services across a global ecosystem of automated networks, as envisioned in the MEF

3.0 framework. Service providers must become more cloud-like and automated to deliver powerful networking solutions that provide unprecedented user and application-directed control over network resources and services.

Going forward, service providers must transition from operating as independent islands of excellence to being integral players in a worldwide business federation of cloud-like networks that support standardised dynamic services across multiple operators. This will unleash industry innovation on a massive scale while simultaneously helping maximise return on SDN and NFV investments.

To realise this vision, MEF has advanced initiatives related to a full family of standardised MEF 3.0 services, including carrier ethernet, SD-WAN, optical transport, IP, and SECaaS for SD-WAN, as well as standardised MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs that are foundational to orchestrating these services across federated networks. 

Q. What are LSO Sonata APIs and what specific issues are they addressing?

MEF has been developing LSO Sonata APIs as part of a comprehensive effort to standardise multiple sets of APIs enabling service automation across providers and over multiple network technology domains. LSO Sonata APIs relate to the interface reference point within the LSO Reference Architecture that supports business-to-business interactions between service providers. The full suite of planned LSO Sonata APIs deals with serviceability (address validation, site queries, product offering qualification), product inventory, quoting, ordering, trouble ticketing, contracts, and billing.

The current friction in the system has impeded the ability of innovative service providers to efficiently extend the reach of on-demand retail services to off-net locations.

In a nutshell, LSO Sonata APIs promise to help the market operate much more efficiently through automation.

Q. What LSO Sonata APIs are available today, and what others are planned?

In June 2019, MEF announced the availability of LSO Sonata SDK Release 3 that includes a set of deliverables that enable market adoption of LSO Sonata APIs for serviceability, product inventory, quoting, and ordering. The SDK includes published and draft standards covering business requirements, use cases, and attributes that serve as the basis for the associated APIs and data models.

MEF intends to continually enhance standards related to LSO Sonata APIs for serviceability, product inventory, quoting, and ordering while also advancing standards work related to LSO Sonata APIs for trouble ticking, contracts, and billing. Stay tuned for our upcoming LSO Sonata SDK Release 4 that will be available in the near future.

Q. What does the timeline look like for LSO Sonata API implementation?

As you know, during ITW earlier this year, AT&T and Colt announced that they were first service providers to implement

LSO Sonata APIs in production environments. This represented a major milestone for these companies, MEF and the broader industry. We anticipate many more companies will begin production implementations of LSO Sonata APIs over the next 12 to 18 months.

Q. Can you provide an update on the LSO Sonata Certification pilot program?

A core group of service providers, with representation from every major geographic region of the world, is lining to participate in the LSO Sonata pilot certification program, leading the industry shift from manual inter-provider processes to dynamic service automation. We look forward to sharing more news on this front in the coming months.

Q. How can people learn about LSO Sonata APIs in action?

We invite everyone in the industry to attend MEF19, where you will be able to see sophisticated demonstrations involving LSO Sonata and other LSO APIs in the MEF 3.0 proof of concept showcase. We also have multiple conference sessions on inter-provider and intra-provider service automation, including a special session focused on the business case for implementing LSO Sonata APIs.

MEF19 will be held 18-22 November 2019 at the JW Marriott LA LIVE in Los Angeles.

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