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Getting Up to Speed on Microservices

Abel Tong

By now, nearly everyone acknowledges that the use of microservices in application development can help network operators, the way it has helped Google, Amazon and others to deliver new services that can keep up with market demands, quickly and cost effectively.

Mobilization, cloud services and the Internet of Things (IoT) are forcing network operators to find new ways to respond, and roll out new services to keep pace with evolving market demands -- without jeopardizing or interrupting current and existing services. Flexibility and speed are paramount.

As network operators learn to leverage a microservices architecture to help automate service delivery processes, they find that new services can be turned up "on demand" in seconds or minutes -- far less than the current 30 to 60 days or longer it takes using traditional software development processes.

By definition, microservices is a software architectural methodology in which a larger application or system is constructed from a set of independent software building blocks interconnected and communicating through well defined, open APIs. As more applications are deployed in cloud environments, the limitations of older, monolithic software applications and legacy OSS platforms become increasingly apparent.

Microservices address these challenges by providing a more streamlined development methodology made popular in cloud services, and specifically designed to make applications easier to enhance, maintain and scale as needed. A microservices architecture is crucial for any organizations seeking greater agility to remain competitive.

A few key points about microservices include:

1) Microservices can help increase agility, accelerate development and improve software quality.

2) Software developers must "buck" traditional processes and break down large, monolithic applications into smaller, decoupled service components. Then, each independent component can be scaled up/down, or replicated to meet an application's scalability and reliability requirements.

3) It takes some education and training, but microservices encourage collaboration across an organization's development and operations teams. And those investments are definitely worth the effort.

The bottom line is microservices are now used across all industries to design better software that delivers greater agility, accelerates development processes and improves application quality. Microservices form the basis of cloud-native applications: Having loosely coupled services that are easy to swap in and out also simplifies lifecycle maintenance.

As a result, a microservices approach to software development has grown into the primary way to build large scale, distributed applications.

— Abel Tong, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing, Ciena's Blue Planet division

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User Rank: Light Sabre
2/22/2017 | 8:08:01 AM
Re: A bit more complicated
Yes, it's usually a case of easier said than done. Granted the possibility that "new services can be turned up "on demand" in seconds or minutes," but of course the planning and deveopment that must precede that is not an insignificant task to perfor before taht launch.
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/9/2017 | 12:42:03 PM
A bit more complicated

So the presentation of micro services has a bit more complexity than that.  The team in Devops needs to understand the instrumentation of the microservices and be able to determine if and when additional instances are needed.  This is not to say that microservices are bad or that the article is wrong.  What I am saying is that the team needs to understand the performance metrics and what they mean.  Other than that we are just talking about the principles of fundamental software design and not a new way forward.


User Rank: Lightning
2/9/2017 | 9:19:23 AM
Good Article, Abel
Another instance of gaining by reducing, using repeatable actions that can be combined and refactored in response to changing markets and customer demand. Good article, Abel; I wonder how much a company has to change not only its work, but its mindset to achieve this approach. Large Big Onerous Death March software projects seem to just suck up so much energy and headcount; by the time you get there, the "there" may have disappeared. I wonder about those leaders who have to transform the way we build and sell services; they have a challenge, for sure.

Rick Bauer, MEF
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