A historic win was the hot topic of discussion at the MEF16 show in Baltimore this past week. I’m referring of course to the US presidential election result, but another win that was a little bit closer to home for Ciena and the Blue Planet team was the MEF Excellence Award given out to the best Proof of Concept (PoC) at this year’s event.

The PoC Showcase and the Excellence Awards have been centerpieces of MEF’s annual event since it started three years ago, but 2016 is the first year an award was presented for the PoC that ‘best demonstrated an implementation of agile, assured, and orchestrated Third Network services’.

I’m very pleased to say that this first-time award was given to our PoC team of CenturyLink, Blue Planet, RAD, and Ciena who jointly demonstrated, “Multi-Vendor Service Orchestration Using Open APIs for Service Activation, Performance Monitoring, and NFV”.

If you happened to have read my blog after last year’s event (see Vendor of the Year: Ciena brings home 3 MEF awards from GEN15), you would know that Ciena and Blue Planet aren’t newcomers when it comes to the MEF Excellence Awards. However, this award is particularly special because we’re able to share it with a key customer (CenturyLink), our colleagues from Ciena’s packet team, as well as one of our long-time Blue Orbit Partners (RAD).

With fourteen different demos in this year’s PoC Showcase, the competition was very tough, but I believe that four aspects of our demonstration made it really stand-out from the others:

  1. Proof of Reality: While other PoCs showed what ‘could be possible’, our demo was based on CenturyLink’s real-world network environment. In fact, Jack Pugaczewski, Distinguished Architect at CenturyLink and the leader of the project, took to calling our demonstration a “Proof of Reality” that demonstrated the tangible benefits associated with multi-vendor automation using open APIs, SDN, and NFV-based value-added services.
  2. True Multi-Vendor: Although the majority of PoCs were multi-vendor, the individual solutions/products from the vendors fully complemented one another. Our PoC, on the other hand, showcased service orchestration working across competitive access solutions (NFV-enabled NIDs), from Ciena and RAD. Again, this is reflective of a real-world, multi-vendor customer network environment, and solves a real customer challenge.
  3. Ciena’s Optimized D-NFV Approach: Our PoC also provided the first public demonstration of Ciena’s newly announced 3906mvi x86 Server Module and D-NFVI Software, which are optimized for addressing the unique challenges associated with Distributed NFV deployments, and complemented by Blue Planet Orchestration. For more details, see Brian Lavallée’s excellent blog from last week: What is Distributed NFV and why do you need it?
  4. CenturyLink-led Open API Development: And finally, our PoC was unique in that it showcased the CenturyLink-led, open source initiative to develop open APIs within the MEF LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) framework for automated provisioning and end-to-end delivery of agile, assured, and orchestrated services in a multi-vendor environment.

In the spirit of full transparency, I’d also like to point out that we officially shared this win with another PoC, so congratulations to the team of Comcast, Sparkle, Tata Communications, ECI, and Viavi for their winning multi-carrier orchestration demo, as well as to all the winners of this year’s Excellence Awards. And finally, I would like to say thanks to the MEF for hosting another great event. We’ll see you next year.