When telcos business boom started decades ago, they only had one system for billing. The rest of the daily process such as facilities management, facilities maintenance or workforce management were done in a manually.
As time passed and Telcos had more and more customers coming their way, the need to use more systems besides the billing in the day-to-day operation came up. Many operators had homegrown billing systems and they decided to build upon them or even the ones that had a third-party software. They bought new “modules” with more functionalities, using the same billing platform. Such approach led the telcos software industry to create over applications that became monolithic and unwieldy a period of time.
Today, in addition to the monolithic systems issue, CSPs have a large number of legacy systems, technologies, and business processes that have almost no incentive to change unless serious financial pressure exists.
If you look back into the technologies decisions made by the CSPs, it looks like their approach was rather evolutionary than revolutionary in the telcos’ world.
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Microservices and Telcos
In simple terms, when we talk about microservices, we are talking about a new approach to build systems in a “chopped” way if you will. This means that instead of building a system that does billing, you will build “microsystems” made out of different mini-modules interconnected among them to support the billing process. This will help large systems to be managed and maintained independently, enabling small autonomous teams to develop, deploy, and scale their respective services independently of each other.
Today microservices are being extensively used by web-scale business like Amazon, Google or Linkedin, because monolithic systems decreases the business ability to innovate.
Albeit today microservices can be used in a myriad of industries, you may argue that since microservices are 100% software, ANY industry can benefit from using microservices. However, the thing is that when it comes to microservices, they are mostly associated with cloud environments. That, for the Telecom industry, is a huge challenge since cloud environments and virtualization are two worlds mostly unexplored to them.
New network solutions like Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are driving the needs of telco industry to become more agile and profitable in this changing and demanding connected world.
Today, many based-cloud platforms are using microservices and telco industries need to move towards those solutions in order to strike the balance between speed, agility, and transformation.
CableLabs and Intraway developed a proof-of-concept and demonstration on virtualized customer premise equipment (vCPE) using open source software. Learn how to make network virtualization and carrier ethernet easier in this blog post.
Microservices at Intraway
At Intraway, we have adopted a microservices approach to our software development process to make sure our software is cloud-native. We are transforming our newest fulfillment solutions like service catalog, service order manager, resource order manager and other systems to be 100% cloud-based using open APIs from the industry, adding support for non-SQL database and open software to support the increasing needs in the telecom industry for this type of architecture.