Zeev Likwornik, Cloud Product Line Manager & Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, Amdocs
Yifat Kafkafi, Cloud Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs
Where exactly are Communications Service Providers (CSPs) headed in the future? Digital transformation is top of mind for virtually all CSP leaders, as they seek to transform their business models, IT systems and cultures to succeed in today’s market. To stay competitive, CSPs must improve their end users’ digital experience and gain service agility so that they can launch and iterate new features and services easily and quickly, with low cost of failure. This encompasses everything from catching a market trend while it’s hot and monetizing it (i.e. offering a zero rated Pokemon Go mobile package) to quickly adding new features at lightning speed, such as adding a ‘save for later’ feature to the shopping cart.
However, CSPs face roadblocks in their quest to transform due to the complexity of their existing IT systems and the lengthy time required to launch new services. Cloud native applications, based on microservices architecture, are regarded as a key enabler to deliver the agility and flexibility CSPs require.
With microservices architecture you can ‘think big, by thinking small.’ Microservices are small, single-purpose pieces of code which form loosely coupled pieces of applications that can be reconfigured and assembled quickly for rapid deployment and updates. New functions can often be delivered through replacement and reconfiguration, rather than intrusive and costly customizations. Individual microservices can be seamlessly upgraded, swapped out and scaled out/in, without affecting the rest of the application. This allows small development teams to work on independent modules, taking end-to-end ownership until production. This fuels faster cycles of innovation and experimentation – thus achieving the full potential of DevOps practices.
In decomposing monolithic applications to microservices using Domain Driven Design, application functionality is divided into autonomous domains and sub-domains with clear and self-contained boundaries, each exposing open standardized APIs. This modularity in the functional architecture provides CSPs the ability to decouple their digital applications from the back-end engines to increase service agility and business flexibility.
Be ready for a new paradigm
The move to microservices architecture is a paradigm shift which, if done right, holds the potential for CSPs to boost their business agility to a whole new level. This new paradigm encompasses a number of aspects:
- Focusing on culture and processes: Beyond tools and technology, building a culture and processes that encourage experimentation and innovation is key.
- Evolving monolithic applications into granular,
API-driven applications: This shift isn’t a simple code re-factoring, it requires intimate understanding of Domain Driven Design and the relevant application and business processes.
- Embracing cloud native technologies: Selecting the right future-proof stack among the rapidly evolving options is critical.
- Re-thinking your deployment processes in a DevOps world: Will your teams be ready to
receive new features and code every few days or weeks from vendors? Receiving code on a more frequent basis also requires trusting vendors’
quality assurance and their understanding of your overall business requirements and constraints.
Bridge the gap to microservices
Moving to microservices architecture is a complex undertaking involving risks and challenges. One of the benefits of microservices architecture is greater simplicity in the functional domain, however in parallel the complexity in the non-functional domain significantly increases. The distributed nature of microservices architecture results in higher operational complexity in many aspects such as testing, integration, monitoring, logging, security, service discovery and data consistency.
To mitigate the impact of increased complexity and ensure that business value is gained, rather than lost:
- Adopt a DevOps approach for development and operation of applications: Introducing greater automation and restructuring siloed teams to multi-functional teams will enable managing the more complex operations of microservices-based applications and handling more frequent releases from vendors.
- Carefully prioritize which applications to evolve first to microservices: Prioritize applications that require the highest cadence of code change and re-use for maximum business agility: systems of engagement such as commerce, care, ordering and catalog, as well as the NFV domain.
- Equip your organization: Plan for training and gradual re-skilling of your operations workforce.
- Prepare for the bimodal transition period: Over the next few years, CSPs will need to manage new microservices-based applications alongside their existing traditional applications and ensure future and backwards compatibility.
What Amdocs offers
- Microservices-based applications: After first adopting microservices in its cloud native NFV suite, Amdocs is now evolving its digital engagement and experience solutions, including care, commerce and catalog, using microservices architecture to provide an open, modular digital platform. Amdocs microservices are based on domain-driven design aligned with the TM Forum and use standardized, open APIs. To ensure enterprise-readiness, faster time to market and reduced risk, Amdocs provides microservices with well-defined and tested business process flows, architected for data consistency and tested to ensure non-functional SLAs and performance.
Amdocs also offers technology enablers and professional services to ease the path to leveraging microservices:
- Microservices orchestration and operations platform: Based on leading open-source community tooling including Kubernetes and Docker, Amdocs Microservices360 framework provides a certified operational envelope for cloud native microservices packaging, configuration, runtime and day-to-day operations. The Microservices360 framework ensures operability for CSPs with a set of tools such as service discovery, security, monitoring, logging, configuration, data management and API management, while also ensuring openness through an infrastructure-agnostic approach that enables microservices to be run over any cloud infrastructure.
- Consultancy & advisory services: Amdocs assists CSPs in building and executing their strategy for migrating to cloud and microservices architecture, including roadmap definition and conducting internal training.
- Migration services: Amdocs migration services take the pain out of modernizing legacy applications by re-architecting to cloud-native application and microservices architecture paradigms, as well as integrating and leveraging various cloud infrastructures.
- Managed services: Amdocs provides end-to-end management and operations of CSPs cloud environments and microservices applications to support today’s bimodal IT needs. Managed services is an effective way for CSPs to obtain both the greater agility and cost optimization they require, without being constrained by skill scarcity.
Today, microservices architecture is being used at scale primarily by technology-driven innovators such as Netflix, Airbnb and Google, who have been early adopters of cloud technologies and DevOps. Most CSPs are still in the process of adopting cloud and evolving to agile methods and DevOps, and naturally
will have to bridge wider gaps in order to embrace microservices. As these are still early days for microservices and cloud native adoption by CSPs and standards are still evolving, it is critical to choose the right partner. With Amdocs’ deep industry-specific expertise in developing and operating both traditional applications as well microservices, we’re helping CSPs to bridge those gaps and successfully navigate their journey.
Amdocs Cloud Center of Excellence assists leading CSPs in building their cloud and microservices roadmap. Contact us at: [email protected]