March 19, 2020

How Microservices are Transforming OSS and BSS

The evolution to smaller code sets means faster, more efficient and eventually, continuous upgrade cycles.

In the drive to simplify OSS and BSS, CSPs and vendors are moving away from so-called ‘monolithic’ software systems toward new approaches. Here, we take a closer look at microservices and why they are critical to the future of the industry.

Microservices are smaller units of code that represent a completely self-contained piece of software and as such can run specific tasks independently within the framework and context of the larger solution architecture. When vendors talk about a platform being ‘modular,’ they often mean that the separate, configurable solutions (i.e. service assurance) are pre-integrated and fully interoperable with the other components of a larger OSS/BSS framework and that the components of that solution (i.e. performance monitoring within service assurance) also behave in this way.

In a truly modular architecture, the next level down from this are the microservices, which are smaller components that are interchangeable without the need for customization to make them operate in a larger group.

The Impact on Software Releases

This idea of a tiered architecture of software is built on a common software foundation, which forms the intellectual property of  leading vendors and is a big part of what separates them.

Large annual overhauls of OSS/BSS software have become a way of life for CSPs, and while efforts have been made to make this process as painless and transparent as possible, CSP investment in ensuring upgrade success is significant. Under a microservices framework, said microservices won’t require the existing applications to be recoded for feature enhancements, so the idea of a large version release becomes redundant. Adding new functionality is just a matter of adding a new independent component or module into the software suite.

Results-Driven Development

Microservices are typically developed using DevOps and/or Agile methodologies, which have a number of benefits, but in terms of launching new customer services or whole new service types, the time and cost benefits are significant. Shortening these timescales and reducing the financial outlay openly encourages CSPs to innovate with new digital services and provides rapid feedback about the commercial viability of those services. As such, a more results-driven attitude can be adopted where the high performing services are scaled up and the not so successful can be scaled back or withdrawn with little negative consequence.

The idea of modular microservice architectures is not new, but it is fundamentally different to what exists within most large CSPs. Shifting to a different way of working can be a big challenge, and there is also a skills shortage across the industry when it comes to microservices.

Netcracker has a proven background in providing transformational services that enable vendors to make the leap without collapsing the systems that run their business. The breadth of capabilities on offer address the technology and cultural transformation within the CSP and encourage microservices-driven innovations.

Click here to learn more about Netcracker’s Agile and DevOps program offerings.

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