MEF: LSO, SDN, NFV Crucial to Carrier Ethernet Dynamic Services

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 with No comments

As 2016 gets underway, the topic of 'dynamic services' already is heating up to be a major focus. What capabilities are available (or planned) to allow customers can use to control dynamic services from their own networks? What role do LSO, SDN, and NFV play in moving the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 market forward? What are the deployment drivers, benefits, and challenges for dynamic services? These are some of the questioned posed by MEF recently in a survey of Ethernet and cloud services providers.

According to survey results, half of service providers plan to offer dynamic Ethernet services by the end of 2017, and most plan to offer a full range of advanced, on-demand capabilities. By ‘on-demand’ and ‘dynamic,’ what’s meant are capabilities customers can control directly using a portal or API, such as:

  • Activate or deactivate ports and Ethernet Virtual Connections
  • Increase or decrease bandwidth on an existing connection
  • Add new virtual network services to existing Ethernet service

Customers are driving this trend, seeking faster service provisioning, the ability to scale networks on-demand, increased business agility, and the option to tailor bandwidth performance dynamically for specific applications. At the same time, providers acknowledge they're under price pressure; the majority think customers should pay the same price for dynamic Ethernet services as they would for static connectivity.

Most providers agree that to transition from static connectivity to dynamic services, they must leverage Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO), software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV). These technologies hold much promise, but at the same time some significant challenges are holding service providers back: 

  • Inadequate OSS/BSS capabilities
  • Lack of strategic commitment on part of network operators
  • Integration of legacy infrastructure with dynamic services
  • Incomplete/insufficient standards

Clearly, there's work to be done. Should be an interesting year!

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