Industry Leaders Collaborate on Common SDN Business API Standards for Orchestrated Services

AT&T, Orange, Colt, MEF and TM Forum Pave the Way Toward Worldwide Ecosystem of Connected Service Provider Networks

BARCELONA, Feb. 28, 2017 – AT&T*, Orange, and Colt Technology Services are working with MEF and TM Forum to release the first set of standard application programming interfaces (APIs) for orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services later this year. This initiative uses MEF’s LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) framework and TM Forum’s Open API framework.

AT&T, Orange, and Colt have been working to accelerate adoption of SDN across the industry. AT&T has been collaborating with the enterprise arm of Orange, Orange Business, on standardized APIs that will enable SDN architectures from different network service providers to interoperate with each other. AT&T and Colt held the first successful SDN interoperability trial proving that SDN architectures from different network service providers can interoperate with each other across continents.

After a successful proof of concept, the companies are leading the charge, along with MEF and TM Forum, to accelerate efforts to develop a set of standardized APIs for industry-wide use. 

Service providers will be able to use standardized APIs to work with each other’s SDN architectures in near-real time. The projected release of the first round of APIs is at the end of 2017. This is a key step toward enabling orchestrated on-demand services over more automated and interconnected networks.

Traditionally, each service provider uses different systems and interfaces to manage different aspects of its networks. This creates friction and inefficiency when providing an end-to-end service. Our world is becoming increasingly connected. A “smart” network is critical to deliver services to customers across many networks.

“The more companies that are using a standard, the more powerful and beneficial it becomes for everybody,” says Roger Entner, founder of Recon Analytics Inc. “As momentum builds, more and more operators, vendors and other partners will find it advantageous to join in or they will be faced with the danger of falling behind their competitors.”

“Our research shows that the number one issue impeding the delivery of on-demand services is the need for a standardized approach to orchestrating services across multiple provider networks,” said Rosemary Cochran, Principal, Vertical Systems Group.  “This initiative led by industry leaders to collaboratively standardize on APIs for Ethernet services is an essential step toward tackling this challenge.”

The API standardization effort for orchestrated connectivity services is being conducted within MEF in partnership with TM Forum, and is open to both MEF and TM Forum members. This project revolves around the LSO Sonata reference point that deals with the management, operational, and business interactions between service providers. The API standardization project will build upon TM Forum Open API standards work involving nine of the world’s largest service providers.

There are plans to standardize 8 API definitions. This builds on the industry-agreed Open APIs developed by TM Forum members. The first 3 APIs below will be defined in the first round of the project this year.

  1. Address validation
  2. Service availability
  3. Ordering
  4. Quoting
  5. Billing
  6. Assurance
  7. Testing
  8. Change management


These APIs will help reduce the burden of fragmented networks, giving businesses the power to provision scalable, flexible network services on-demand through software platforms like ECOMP. ECOMP is now open-sourced through the Linux Foundation and will be used as a reference implementation for LSO APIs. These connected networks will save costs and be more agile, helping businesses streamline their operations.

A federation of like-minded, involved companies will come together using these common APIs to help the industry usher in the next era of SDN-based Ethernet globally. Companies interested in joining this initiative can visit the MEF website for more information and learn more about TM Forum’s Open API framework here.

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