Features and Analysis

TM Forum and MEF partnership results in quick progress

Attending the recent MEF Seminar in London, I was struck by the proposition that service providers need to partner to create new solutions also applies to industry consortia supporting them. The reason is that agility is the key priority, so service providers and their suppliers are looking to collaboration groups and standards bodies to provide agile solutions.

In that spirit we reported the result of the joint work being conducted between TM Forum and MEF on a harmonized approach for application program interfaces (APIs). MEF’s APIs for its Lifecycle Service Orchestrator follow the TM Forum Open API guidelines, and its Presto interfaces use a subset of TM Forum APIs announced at TM Forum Live! last month.

It was apparent that the combination of the Forum’s skills – APIs and management – and the MEF’s skills in networking and end-to-end orchestration had allowed both groups to deliver more quickly and to a higher standard than either could accomplished individually.

What did we learn?

Firstly, a lot of the work was conducted in a single discussion series rather than the traditional approach of exchange of documents. This approach has adapted the concepts of agile and DevOps working to the creation of standards, i.e. get all the stakeholder together to agree the problem, agree the incremental priorities, and develop and test proposals in an interactive, hands-on style.

Secondly, the organizations have to take the view that consideration of intellectual property rights are a challenge to be solved and not a roadblock to progress.

It’s better to have a 30-percent stake in something that provides a practical, immediate solution to a real world challenge, than 100 percent of something that only addresses a small part of the challenge, while leaving many questions unanswered.

Kevin Brackpool, SDN/NFV Architect, Vodafone Group, offered accolades to both groups. Vodafone is endorsing and driving the use of TM Forum APIs for customer management, end-to-end service management and resource management systems.

“We in Vodafone have a clear view of how we are pragmatically going to use these industry standards to deliver agile services and an automated customer experience,” he said. “The joint work by TM Forum and MEF on APIs, information models and end-to-end orchestration has simplified and accelerated this task.”

In the social event following, TM Forum and MEF members identified a number of potential follow-on activities which includes extension of the TM Forum API and MEF model to support the new generation of hybrid networks and virtualized networks and services.

Stay tuned for updates about our progress.


About The Author

Chief Architect

Prior to retiring from BT CTO office in 2007 Dave worked on rapid service delivery and representing BT at ITU, ETSI TISPAN, UK NICC B2B standards, 3GPP and the TM Forum (since 1988). He also facilitates the Service Provider Leadership Council (SPLC) of some 100+ SP companies.

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