& cplSiteName &

Busting a Few Myths About Microservices

Abel Tong

Netflix, Twitter, Amazon and Uber are among leading industry giants that have developed applications based on a microservices architecture.

As we now take a closer look at the telecom sector's software development infrastructure, the idea of leveraging microservices makes a great deal of sense. Network operators need microservices to increase the agility and flexibility of their management platforms, scale and manage new virtualized service environments and deliver value-added services and self-service monitoring systems. (See Getting Up to Speed on Microservices .)

As with any technological advance, a few myths have emerged, which is why it's a good idea to clarify some finer points to help network operators resolve confusion and keep their modernization efforts on track.

Myth #1: Network operators may lack confidence because microservices don't perform the way software development has always been done
Despite the natural, innate desire to resist change, network operators understand that the same old traditional OSS software infrastructures used for decades simply can't keep up with growing and/or volatile service demands. Because microservices represent a new approach that differs from the monolithic, proprietary software processes of old, there is concern this "new" method won't hold up, especially for enterprise-wide or large-scale applications.

However, the old software limitations have grown burdensome. Even small changes are difficult to complete. Each time a change is made in a monolithic application, the entire platform must be rebuilt and redeployed. Scaling, for example, requires replicating and scaling of the entire application rather than just the few individual service components that require more resources. This has slowed the process of delivering new services to a glacial pace. Meanwhile, the capex and opex of traditional monolithic application development processes are rising, as the costs to operate, maintain and upgrade legacy applications grow.

As a software development architecture, microservices deliver the same functionality as legacy monolithic applications, while adding openness, flexibility and the ability to easily make changes. Microservices use a development methodology first made popular in cloud services, and specifically designed to make applications easier to enhance, maintain and scale as needed. Network operators are finding that microservices can also help them achieve greater agility to remain competitive.

Myth #2 'Micro' means small or little services
Well, sort of. In computer science, a "service" is a function performed on behalf of a higher order program. In a microservices architecture, applications are built from loosely coupled and highly modular software components. Because the software components are largely independent, an application architected with microservices is easier to enhance, maintain and scale. Since each service component is decoupled, applications can be upgraded and new features can be added and deployed independently of the rest of the platform, with no downtime or interruption to operational processes.

Myth #3: One can easily 'convert' legacy, monolithic applications to microservices
Some software industry giants have told customers they've easily converted their heavyweight, monolithic platforms over to microservices. But in reality, adopting microservices requires "refactoring" or rewriting of the software architecture: It's not something that can be achieved by taking an existing, legacy monolithic application and changing a few lines of code. Instead, the process of adopting microservices takes time and effort.

Ultimately, the migration to modern microservices and open, collaborative software requires the transition away from legacy, monolithic, proprietary applications. But by learning to embrace a microservices architecture in software development, network operators will speed service delivery and agility. Embracing microservices will also increase collaboration across internal product and IT operations teams and improve the career path of IT professionals.

Leveraging software built from the ground up with a microservices architecture will help network operators generate the agility and flexibility they need to keep pace with changing market demands and shrink the time it takes to introduce new services. Network operators must understand it takes time and practice to fully incorporate microservices into an organization's development processes. Here's hoping this helps clarify a few of the myths to keep the migration to microservices on track.

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

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Column
The future of roaming in Europe is all about superior quality of service.
The shift to 400G is not only imminent but possible, argues Ciena's Helen Xenos.
As multi-access edge computing becomes a reality, operators will need to consider how to gain visibility into their ever-expanding networks and why that's important.
In a special webinar next week, a panel of cable operators, vendors and analysts will look at where the commercial services market is heading and how cable can stay competitive in it.
IoT technologies are now enabling cable operators and other service providers to offer 'quint play' bundles with smart home services for subscribers.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders recently visited the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) where Cisco's Tetration application is providing data center analytics, simplifying SDN, helping with cloud migration and overseeing white-list security policy.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
AT&T Likens DoJ Suit to Shaved Persian Cat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 3/12/2018
Trump Blocks Broadcom's Qualcomm Acquisition
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/12/2018
John Deere Bets the Farm on AI, IoT
Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 3/12/2018
Rumor Mill: SoftBank Still Eyeing Charter
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 3/12/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed