MEF's next moves: Orchestrators for enterprises and work with aggregators

LOS ANGELES—Fresh off a developer release for LSO Sonata and the first crack at SD-WAN standards and certification, MEF is moving forward on its road map, including orchestration for enterprises, blockchain and 5G.

MEF CTO Pascal Menezes outlined some of MEF's past accomplishments—including how it has pivoted into being a more nimble standards development organization—and then spoke about where the forum is headed during a Wednesday morning keynote address.

Menezes said MEF is working with aggregators Neutrona Networks and Epsilon in order to bring LSO Sonata's BSS automation across local loops to resellers, which will open up access to hundreds if not thousands of access providers. 

"We're taking Sonata and we want to be able to get to those access networks," Menezes said. "They'll be able to implement the BSS automation side to other retailers who need access to those local loops worldwide."

While the Lifecycle Service Orchestration Sonata APIs are a hot topic this week in terms of enabling intercarrier orchestration of services, the LSO Cantata APIs are waiting in the wings. Also this week, MEF announced that it was forming an enterprise advisory panel to get input from large multinational enterprises, which are prime targets for LSO Cantata.

"The enterprise are saying they want orchestrators that talk to other orchestrators," Menezes said. "We're starting to see PoCs starting on Cantata, and it's the enterprise-to-service provider orchestrators.

"We're are also using blockchain to exchange money and allocate resources. We're working on that project with more news to come that will help us speed that up."

RELATED: Colt and Zeetta Networks to demonstrate blockchain marketplace at MEF18

Colt Technology Services and Zeetta Networks have shown a marketplace blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC) demo at MEF18 this week. Also at MEF18, CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle and Tata Communications teamed up with Clear Blockchain Technologies and Cataworx to show how telcos can use blockchain to enable services such as bandwidth on demand, IoT, voice, and virtual reality.

Similar to MEF 55 LSO, MEF is also working on a framework for virtual reference points that will distribute virtual services across various topologies.

"The idea is we're going have VNFs distributed on universal CPEs, some in the POPs [points of presence] of the service providers and some in infrastructure that the enterprises own," Menezes said. "All of the VNFs will be distributing and coordinating orchestrations, and this has been a big problem. We're working on a framework for that."

Menezes said security-as-a-service was the fastest growing area and that MEF was working on that as well. Another key area of focus for MEF is 5G.

"We have done a lot of work on 5G front haul and backhaul," Menezes said. "We're working on slicing. We're working on fixed mobile loops to deliver gigabit on wireless loops."