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For scalability, innovation, security, and flexibility, telecom companies are transforming their IT and architectural capabilities.  This is a must as the demand for faster, better, and more efficient services and operations is higher than before.

One way they are doing this is through microservices. By definition, a microservice architecture is a cloud-native approach wherein an application is composed of small, independent, and deployable components or services. The value of microservices can be more understood through fairly simple business and organizational benefits. These include easier code editing for new features and functionality, interoperability between different stacks and programming languages, and independent scaling that reduces cost.

In comparison to the traditional all-in-one monolithic structure for software applications (where all aspects operate as a single unit), the microservices model has components that are modular, functioning independently, and coupled together as needed for optimal functionality.

In the era of globalization, telecoms need to continuously extend their products with new business and operational capabilities. Hence, adopting microservices is considered, particularly with the fast-paced adoption of edge computing and 5G networks. With this in mind, implementing development operations (DevOps) follows a continuous integration and continuous deployment pipeline (CI/CD). Because of this, microservices both enable and require, DevOps. Let us dig deeper into how this works.

DevOps culture
Companies must strategically plan their DevOps approach to be able to successfully deploy microservices. To put it simply, DevOps is a mindset and culture of software delivery and IT operations based on Agile methodology and principles that revolutionized software development a decade ago.

Reports and Data forecast that the global DevOps market will grow at a rate of 18.3% from $5.30 billion in 2020 to $20.31 billion in 2028. Some of the DevOps principles for managing IT infrastructure include network transparency and control efficiency, removal of manual configuration of network hardware and appliances, greatly reduced CAPEX, network high availability and resilience, and shortened time-to-market.

The prime characteristic of DevOps is to advocate automation and monitoring at every phase of software creation. The phase model runs from integration, testing, releasing up to the deployment and infrastructure management. While adopting DevOps practices automates and optimizes processes through technology, it is also important to foster collaboration, visibility, accountability, and continuous learning within the organization itself.

By now, it has been clear that the key aspect of a DevOps system enables efficient continuous operations. This can be done by automatically coordinating all the tools and process components required to get a rapid software development cycle. Changes in source code, initialization of host system, execution of build process, automated release packaging, and automated results reporting and analysis are all part of this.

Taking into account the surge of microservice architecture implementation nowadays, this phenomenon will drive the DevOps market further. DevOps and microservices are closely associated with each other as microservices assist enterprises to make deployments and escalate their runtime and delivery.

Aside from this, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are expected to foster the growth of DevOps. How so? Because AI & ML can process huge amounts of information and aid in performing routine tasks by learning patterns, anticipating problems, and suggesting solutions.

Why telecom needs it?
Telecoms remains to be one of the most competitive industries and the pressures to continuously deliver new products and services are enormous, especially during the pandemic. As a result, both DevOps and microservices provide a compelling reason to be utilized in terms of accelerating the pace of delivery and innovation.

In terms of building 5G networks, most are already aware that 5G is built around three main principles: software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), and virtual network functions (VNF). Hence, employing 5G and microservice architecture to build powerful solutions becomes inevitable and more mainstream later on. Among its benefits are breaking down complexity, easy distribution, faster updates, and hyper-connectivity and independence.

Moreover, the transition to the DevOps model within telecom is also demonstrated through the skyrocketing popularity of the web and mobile interfaces for accessing and managing all kinds of telecom networks and equipment. Adopting MSA architecture in telecom is both a major shift in organizational culture and team structures as well as a technology transformation. With the goal of flexibility and scalability, microservices must be meticulously planned and executed. Being founded harmoniously with the DevOps-based delivery model, business capabilities that need agility and on-demand scalability are activated.

Existing operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), which are primarily transactional in nature, need to be automated and behavior-driven. For instance, front-end and back-end workflows should be automated to permit instant provisioning and self-service options. With microservices, CSPs can ensure OSS/BSS' ability to function in a flexible, open, and standardized manner.

This simpler approach paves the way for rapid, frictionless, and cost-effective IT upgrades and maintenance. But it is important to bear in mind that building out microservices means building out distributed systems. Thus, proper deployment and monitoring automation alongside managed cloud services should be followed to avoid unnecessary troubles.

Without a doubt, OSS/BSS automation can bring new value to telcos. Enabling rapid digital transformation, order management and service provisioning, CRM with CPQ, unified product catalog, self-service, service assurance, and analytics can be implemented. By removing manual processes, delivering seamless end-to-end experiences is achieved.

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