MEF SD-WAN Service Standard Now Publicly Available; ITU-T SD-WAN Work a Dead End?

MEF SD-WAN Service Attributes & Services Standard:
The new MEF spec defines a SD-WAN service and its various attributes – the first time any standards body or forum has done this.  MEF got involved in the SD-WAN interoperability a few years ago, as part of its MEF 3.0 Global Services Framework.  It hoped to bring some order to a space where every SD-WAN vendor was defining its product and services a differently with no accepted definition of what a SD-WAN was or any inter-operablity (no UNI or NNI).

After incorporating extensive feedback from service providers and technology vendor members, MEF is now moving the draft SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services standard (MEF 70) through the last phase of MEF membership and Board approval. The document is available for download here.

“MEF’s team of SD-WAN experts has worked overtime to develop a robust and timely industry standard following multiple rounds of in-depth peer review,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF. “We will officially publish MEF’s SD-WAN service standard by mid-July 2019, but we are making the final draft publicly available now because broad industry alignment on common terminology will be healthy for market growth.”

MEF’s SD-WAN service definition standard describes requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to determine how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks irrespective of the underlay technologies or service providers who deliver them.

SD-WAN service relies on two or more network connections, directing traffic over one connection or the other based on pre-defined parameters, traffic levels and other variables. For example, a company might use an MPLS VPN and a direct internet connection, with mission-critical traffic routed over the MPLS connection, while less critical traffic travels over the internet connection.

MEF defines the SD-WAN UNI, or User to Network Interface, as the point of demarcation between the service provider network and the enterprise network, determining where each party’s functionality and responsibility ends. SD-WAN Edge defines the services available on the customer premises, which could be available through on-premises equipment or in the cloud. And the Underlying Connectivity Service, or UCS, is the underlay wide-area network, typically MPLS, LTE, cable broadband — likely in combination — and possibly from multiple vendors. Additionally, MEF defines the Tunnel Virtual Connection (TVC) as overlay tunnels that are built over the UCS, which provide interconnects between locations.

In summary, the MEF SD-WAN service standard introduces four relevant SD-WAN terms:

  • SD-WAN UNI (user-network interface)
  • SD-WAN Edge, where SD-WAN functionality is achieved, which could be a physical or virtual appliance such as a virtual network function in the cloud
  • Underlay connectivity service (UCS), which is the wide area network service such as MPLS or IP
  • Tunnel virtual connection (TVC), the connection created over the underlay network

SD-WAN Service Constructs:

MEF SD-WAN Service Constructs May 2019-2

Definitions:
SD-WAN Edge:  Physical or virtual
SD-WAN Controller: Centralized management of SD-WAN edges & gateways
Service Orchestrator: Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) of SD-WAN and other services
Subscriber Web Portal: Subscriber service ordering and modification
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Standardization will enable a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services. The SD-WAN service definition is a foundational step for accelerating sales, market adoption, and certification of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services orchestrated across a global ecosystem of service provider networks.

Next Steps for SD-WAN Service Standardization: 

MEF already has begun work on the next phase of SD-WAN standardization (MEF 70.1), which covers more complex service attributes related to application business importance and prioritization, underlay network characteristics, and connectivity to private/public cloud services consistent with market priorities for SD-WAN services. MEF also is progressing standards work focused on LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs, application security, and intent-based networking for SD-WAN services.

Pilot MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service Certification:

MEF remains on track to launch its pilot MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service Certification program in 2019. This certification will test a set of service attributes and their behaviors defined in the SD-WAN standard and described in detail in the upcoming MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service certification Blueprint. Service and technology companies interested in participating in the pilot should contact Alysia@mef.net

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Read more at:

https://www.mef.net/Press-Releases/MEF-Announces-Final-Draft-SD-WAN-Service-Standard-is-Publicly-Available

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ITU-T SD-WAN work item:

ITU-T has a SD-WAN work item under study, but as far as I can tell, there is no output yet.  The project is named Signalling Requirement for SD-WAN service.

Summary: SD-WAN is an ecosystem of hardware (including customer-premises equipment, such as edge devices), software (including controllers), and services that enables enterprise-grade WAN performance, reliability, and security in a variety of ways. This Recommendation specifies signalling requirements for SD-WAN service. The signalling is to support the dynamically set up and manage the enterprise WAN connections.

The three contacts for this work all are from China Mobile.  Following are highlights from an unapproved draft spec:

Introduction:

[ITU-T Editor’s note in September 2018] It is needed to provide the difference between two types of SD-WAN, one is provided by enterprise itself, the other one is provided by the carrier. This Recommendation address the latter. Contributions are invited.

  • The SD-WAN services could be provided by two types of providers. One type is the enterprise and the other is carrier. This Recommendation addresses the latter. The main differences between the two types are shown as below:Network performance monitoring and statistic collection: The enterprise launched service is only able to monitor the performance parameters of its own end-to-end path. While the carrier launched service is capable of monitoring not only the enterprise specific path but also the performance of the whole network. The over view of the network is more helpful for carrier to plan the end-to-end paths for thousands of enterprise as a whole.
  • Service provision: when the path need to be switched over, the enterprises only has the authority to configure the CPE. If they need to change the path in core network, they have to ask the carrier to do so. In contrast, the service which is launched by carrier can be quickly changed by saving the communication time between enterprise and carrier.

ITU-T References:

The following ITU-T Recommendations and other references contain provisions which, through reference in this text, constitute provisions of this Recommendation. At the time of publication, the editions indicated were valid. All Recommendations and other references are subject to revision; users of this Recommendation are therefore encouraged to investigate the possibility of applying the most recent edition of the Recommendations and other references listed below. A list of the currently valid ITU-T Recommendations is regularly published.

The reference to a document within this Recommendation does not give it, as a stand-alone document, the status of a Recommendation.

[ITU-T Q.3300] Recommendation ITU-T Q.3300 (2014), Framework of software-defined networking;

[ITU-T Y.3011]     Recommendation ITU-T Y.3011 (2012), Framework of network virtualization for future network.

AJW Comment:  It doesn’t appear that this work item has made much progress recently.

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One thought on “MEF SD-WAN Service Standard Now Publicly Available; ITU-T SD-WAN Work a Dead End?

  1. MEF’s new white paper “Understanding SD-WAN Managed Services” introduces terminology for different SD-WAN managed service components and illustrates how they fit into MEF’s Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Reference Architecture (RA) to facilitate multi-vendor interoperability and operational agility through use case examples.

    http://www.mef.net/sd-wan/understanding-sd-wan

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