LSO stands for “Lifecycle Service Orchestration”. Orchestration means automated management. It covers automated deployment and management of network services. From requesting them through keeping them working reliably and terminating them. LSO defines an architecture and a set of APIs to perform these functions.
The MEF Forum, a consortium of over 200 companies, is the biggest driving force behind LSO. It has defined a reference architecture and APIs as part of its “Third Network” vision. The Third Network combines the Internet with Carrier Ethernet and dynamic deployment of services.
What LSO means for providers
Defining and deploying services is harder than it should be. LSO standardizes service definitions and specifies high-level ways of deploying them. With it, the user can order and install services without manual intervention.
Providers and services need to connect with one another to meet user requirements. Standardizing services and APIs makes it easier for them to work together. But also to work without having to resolve technical details case by case.
LSO makes software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) work more smoothly by automating processes. This way all aspects of the network are defined in the software. Lastly, automating the deployment and management of services completes the picture. Virtualization and automation make hardware differences unimportant.
The principal capabilities defined under LSO are:
Requests from enterprise customers can get very complex. LSO’s fulfillment capability allows automated creation of services that span many providers. The Control capability lets users make changes on their own. The Policy provides the rules for putting it all together.
Keeping a service running is as important as creating it. The performance capability gathers the performance information. Then it compares it against quality objectives. Usage measures the amount of use of the service. The Assurance capability detects problems and informs the provider or the subscriber. Security makes sure of the protection of the service against breaches and leaks.
Finally, Analytics provides practical information of services and the network. This way the provider can determine what needs improvement or reallocation of resources.
What LSO means for users
The user in an LSO framework could be an individual or business. Individual consumers appreciate being able to add services easily, without waiting for a service representative. Large enterprises demand networks that will keep up with their growing requirements. MEF regards LSO as part of the Network as a Service, or NaaS.
Open APIs provide the interface to LSO. With that, custom software based on the Fulfillment and Control APIs let users manage services. The ease of installation and management enables them to consider services that before would have taken too much time and effort to adopt.
The future of LSO
SDN technology simplifies networking in many ways. It also creates new ways for heterogeneous systems to combine. Managing them without limiting their potential requires new tools. Adding a subnet that uses different hardware shouldn’t be an agonizing process. Components that use LSO talk the same language. Bringing their services together is greatly simplified.
Many major network vendors already support LSO, including Cisco, Ericsson, and Oracle. It’s already a growing way of standardizing and automating services.
Learn more about LSO and how orchestration platforms really work by accessing all our resources, including a webinar recording and presentation, videos, information on Intraway’s orchestration platform, and additional articles.