Agile Development and Transformation is Accelerated When Vendor Partners Enable a Cloud Native Approach
HardenStance highlights the importance of CSP and vendor alignment around agile and cloud native goals in a recent latest white paper.
The transformation towards Agile development processes within the communications service provider community loosely relates those of a modern automotive manufacturing line. Modern manufacturers can produce multiple cars on the same line, where logistics flexibility and just in time delivery helps ensure customers get exactly the color, features and options they want. This means suppliers, logistics operators, and factory staff must all support a flexible delivery method, where micro-changes to the supply chain are both welcome and easily integrated in near real time.
Compare this to building an agile telco based application, faster and iteratively, and in a way that can adjust dynamically to changing customer requirements. Just like in the automotive industry, CSPs must have business leader buy in, groups and processes aligned, and the ability to make change when business priorities change. Their engagement is critical to ensuring the dynamic alignment of projects with the needs of the business. And so is the engagement with their vendor partners.
In a recent HardenStance white paper entitled “A Blueprint for a Cloud Native Telco” author Patrick Donegan highlights that many CSP IT departments already have some agile operations underway, but progress in this domain itself has been painfully slow. In a traditional telco environment supporting a mix of Physical Network Functions (PNFs) and VNFs, legacy monolithic applications have high levels of dependency between all components across the full stack. This is reinforced by proprietary interfaces between components. Add in traditional operational processes and the usual “resistance to change” principles, and it becomes clear that turning a massive cruise ship on a dime may actually be more easily achieved. This is where the adoption of cloud native applications come into play.
The move to cloud native applications will help eliminate monolithic processes, as they are built on a set of independent, self-contained microservices which are only loosely coupled via APIs that are open rather than proprietary. For CSPs, open APIs mean those designed by industry associations and standards bodies such as the MEF Forum, 3GPP, ETSI, TM Forum and the GSM Association (GSMA). This model allows individual components to be patched or updated independently of one another without impacting other components. Frequently replacing rather than changing individual components so that an application is effectively re-deployed each time drives greater agility and robustness or what is often called an immutable infrastructure.
Choose Your Partners Wisely
CSPs can’t reap the benefits of agile development if their technology partners aren’t ready to support it. Therefore CSPs must choose vendors are that have already undergone their own agile transformation at the same time as their telco customers. Without it, the development model in which vendors develop, deliver and upgrade software will be too slow and disjointed. The new, agile model now has to be a much closer co-development model in which changes can be worked on jointly and at much more frequent intervals.