Microservices-driven OSS/BSS more than a buzzword

Martina Kurth / Gartner
27 Apr 2018

Operations support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) architectures based on microservices will change how CSP technology leaders expedite incremental, evolutionary investments in cloud-native and DevOps-enabled microservices design and deployments, to participate in digital value chains.

The term “microservices” stems from the IT application architecture world. The microservice architecture allows for more effective customization, programmability and upgrades. Digital innovators in other industries, such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Twitter, have achieved significant development agility and time-to-market improvements of up to 75% by adopting this approach. Telcos are now looking to embrace the concept of microservices as a new architectural framework to achieve business agility, scalability and flexibility to operationalize manifold digital business models.

CSPs are typically not among the companies to first adopt cloud or cloud-only approaches as a path to effectively leverage microservices-driven OSS/BSS.

Microservices imply a new way of designing and deploying telco services, in tandem with collaborative development and operational systems processes, to drive service agility and mitigate existing infrastructure investments.

Operators´ approaches are incremental, evolving from a complex, heterogeneous legacy environment. This situation automatically places operators in a detrimental position compared to the likes of Amazon and Google. To catch up, operators need to consider the following actions:

  • Investments in tools, people, processes and platforms that help operationalize the hybrid physical and virtual infrastructure environments
  • Adoption of a platform as a service (PaaS) layer (or open source components), orchestration, as well as data repository, service modelling, AI and DevOps tools to leverage hybrid legacy and cloud OSS/BSS environments.
  • Expedite microservice architectures, driven by strong governance and underpinned by collaborative, holistic DevOps design processes (based on continuous integration/continuous testing/continuous delivery best practices).
  • Organizational, automated and agile DevOps process practices must already be in place prior to deploying microservices.
  • Evolve your data management strategy to accommodate distributed data and OSS/BSS-driven microservices (leveraging OSS/BSS artifacts).

Few early mover operators are at an exploratory stage regarding microservice design and deployment.

Presently, the market for microservices in telco is a market instigator. Telco vendors claim that their solution architecture is truly microservices acquiescent. However, only very few new entrants offer integrated microservice architectural functionality as an independent construct, compared to that of the over-the-top (OTT) players.

Martina Kurth is a research director at Gartner.

This article was first published on Gartner website

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