Microservices and Containers Lay the Foundation for the Telco Cloud
By bringing cloud-native features to the network as well as the IT environment, operators will be in the best position to benefit from improved agility, lower costs and faster time-to-market both now and in the future.
The industry IT trend towards the use of microservices and containers is undoubtedly due to the many obvious cost and agility benefits for telco operations in the short term. But the bigger picture is that containerized microservices are a crucial stepping stone on the path to CSPs becoming cloud native in the future.
‘Cloud native’ in telecom often refers to network functions, but the wider view includes many other elements of a CSP’s IT environment, from network management to back-office operational and business support applications. Initiatives to evolve to a true cloud-native approach in the future should focus on the IT architectures that CSPs are choosing to deploy today.
The Benefits of a Platform Approach
Leading CSPs are rapidly moving towards cloud-native architectures based on microservices using a platform approach that provides container and application management for higher availability, scalability, performance and optimal resource consumption. In doing so, they provide their OSS, BSS and network management ecosystems with a common UX/UI framework and common data model, enabling them to perform automated tasks across the whole operational architecture.
The current benefit of the platform approach in the transitional period is that legacy systems can be included in any new operational processes or applications. Microservice architectures create a pathway for continuous functionality upgrades to a cloud-based solution, without interruption to existing operations, and also provide an augmentation capability to address real-time business needs. This translates into extended business agility and reduced OpEx and allows CSPs to vastly accelerate time-to-market for new service offerings.
Cloud Native Paves the Way to the Future
In future cloud-native environments, such as the 5G Core, CSPs will be able to take microservices, place them in containers and compose new services using dynamic orchestrators. By adopting a cloud-native software strategy in the BSS and OSS, CSPs will be able to change their service offerings and pricing on demand in seconds through software configuration rather than expensive and lengthy recoding.
CSPs that are already along the path towards cloud native will experience numerous advantages over those that are still grounded in legacy designs, and their cloud-ready networks based on modernized BSS and OSS will lead the way to the future.