The telco industry has long clamored for more cooperation between open source communities and standard development organizations, so today's announcement that MEF and ONAP had agreed to collaborate on end-to-end automated and orchestrated services was welcome news.
With the memorandum of understanding, MEF is now an associate member of both Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and the Linux Foundation. In turn, the Linux Foundation is now an auditing member of MEF. Together, ONAP and MEF have more than 250 member companies in the combined fold. (See MEF, ONAP Collaborate on LSO, Automation.)
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between MEF and ONAP includes work on interfaces of the former's Lifecycle Services (LSO) framework, specifically the LSO Legato API and LSO Interlude interface, according The Linux Foundation's Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration.
"We'll be doing all of the open source work while they'll be doing all of the specs and standards in the specific area of the LSO framework," Joshipura said.
MEF's LSO framework was launched two years ago as an effort to build a platform that enabled end-to-end orchestration and the accompanying service management for software-centric networks.
With the combined efforts of ONAP and MEF, companies that belong to both will start working on the development of standardized, open LSO APIs designed to automate entire lifecycles for the services orchestrated across multiple carrier networks and technology domains.
"What this helps is harmonizing standards in open source," Joshipura said. "We will do open source, they will do standards and we'll collaborate in ONAP from an open source perspective. If the code looks different, we either change the standard or change the code, but at least from an end-user perspective -- and from a BSS perspective -- there's one face that we present."
Joshipura said that the LSO Interlude was the key east/west element between two carriers that were using ONAP, or between a single carrier that has different SLAs from one country to another for an end customer.
MEF & ONAP Tie-Up
"LSO Interlude is the one that goes between the network elements here," Joshipura said. "So a simple example is, if there's a bank that is offering services by AT&T in New York and the same bank has offices in London where Vodafone is serving them, the SLAs are different, the policies are different and the orchestration is different because it has operators with two different sets of interfaces for the same bank.
"Now we have the ability to standardize that working with MEF, whose focus is on inter-carrier, inter-operator automation."
The MOU also includes use of the LSO Legato API as part of an overall effort to "harmonize" northbound APIs, including some from the TM Forum.
"We don't want to invent more protocols for northbound APIs," Joshipura said. "Whether they [APIs] are MEF, TM Forum or a combination of both and ONAP, they all need to look the same."
As for the brass tacks of the partnership, ONAP will take part in LSO hackathons at next month's MEF17 conference in Orlando, Fla., while also participating in several other MEF-hosted events next year.
MEF is already working with the Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight and PNDA (Platform for Network Data Analytics) open source communities.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation