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MEF Finalizes SD-WAN Definition Standard

Industry association MEF has completed what it claims to be the first global standard defining a software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN), along with its service attributes.

Specifically, the SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) "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."

In the works since last November, the standard is expected to "enable a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services." That will accelerate sales, market adoption and certification of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services offered by members including companies such as Cisco, Citrix, Fortinet, Infovista, Nokia/Nuage, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Versaware and VMware.

Key benefits of the SD-WAN standardization effort that's expected to help accelerate SD-WAN market growth while improving overall customer experience with hybrid networking solutions include:

  • Enabling a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services.
  • Making it easier to interface policy with intelligent underlay connectivity services to provide a better end-to-end application experience with guaranteed service resiliency.
  • Facilitating inclusion of SD-WAN services in standardized Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) architectures, thereby advancing efforts to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services across automated networks.
  • Paving the way for creation and implementation of certified MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services, which will give users confidence that a service meets a fundamental set of requirements.
SD-WAN Components
[Click on image for larger view.] SD-WAN Components (source: MEF).

Already MEF is working on the next iteration, MEF 70.1, expected to define:

  • Service attributes for application flow performance and business importance.
  • SD-WAN service topology and connectivity.
  • Underlay connectivity service parameters.

The group is also working on other SD-WAN-related standards work focused on application security, intent-based networking, and information and data modeling standards to accelerate LSO API development for SD-WAN services.

“The momentum of SD-WAN adoption, along with the large and ever-growing community of players in the SD-WAN ecosystem -- vendors, service providers and enterprises -- has created an information vacuum in terms of how we deploy SD-WAN over multiple underlay connectivity services and across multiple service provider networks," MEF quoted Jennifer Clark, principal analyst, Heavy Reading, as saying.

"The MEF SD-WAN standard is the first step to addressing this vacuum with a common language by which we can define SD-WAN services and service attributes. This and the MEF follow-on SD-WAN standards are the building blocks leading to a MEF SD-WAN certification process, which enterprise SD-WAN customers will need as they evaluate and deploy SD-WAN services.”

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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