Let’s gaze into the proverbial crystal ball and take stock of the latest technology trends and what impact they’ll have in the year ahead on communications and media service providers. In order to go beyond the hype of hot buzzwords such as cloud native, microservices and DevOps, Amdocs commissioned analyst firm Analysys Mason to conduct an in-depth survey of leading service providers in North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific. Let’s take a look at what the survey uncovered to see what’s really happening in the field today and understand when mainstream adoption will occur.
Keeping up with the ‘Cloudashians’
In 2018, we will see service providers accelerate their efforts to keep up with the digital dexterity of Webscale disruptors, such as Netflix and Spotify. These digital powerhouses were either born in the cloud to begin with, or started the transition early on – and the advantages of doing so are clear in light of their game-changing successes. Service providers realize that to remain competitive and even outpace these powerhouses, they too must evolve. In fact, according to the Analysys Mason survey, 82% of service providers say that the need for greater business agility and innovation is what’s driving the adoption of cloud native technology and DevOps practices, as opposed to cost reduction goals.
Accordingly, we expect in 2018 to see an acceleration in service providers’ roadmaps to move to cloud infrastructure, evolve their IT systems to cloud-native technologies and expand their use of DevOps practices.
Weather forecast: Hybrid cloud to dominate
Service providers proceeded cautiously in recent years when it came to moving their mission-critical BSS and OSS systems to run on cloud,. As a result, today over 80% of service providers’ BSS and OSS systems are still running on physical or virtualized data centers.
However, this landscape will start shifting dramatically, as the survey finds that service providers expect by 2022 over 90% of their BSS and OSS systems will run on a cloud infrastructure, with over 60% saying that they expect to run in hybrid cloud deployment models, enabling them to leverage the advantages of both private and public clouds.
Microservices: thinking big, by thinking small
Moving into 2018, we will also see greater adoption of microservices-based architecture in service providers’ IT environments. Breaking up traditional monolithic applications into small loosely coupled services using microservices architecture is one of the fundamental elements of the cloud native paradigm, and a key to unlocking big gains in IT agility and flexibility.
AT&T captured it succinctly when the company announced in October 2017, “The old way of building enterprise apps is dead – long live microservices.”
Indeed, according to the survey, 64% of service providers say microservices architecture will be a requirement in new applications within 2 years. Specifically, we will see service providers prioritizing microservices architecture in the domains of digital commerce and care, catalog, and customer engagement where the need for rapid innovation and accelerated time-to-market is most acute.
DevOps still in development
In 2018, we will see DevOps methodology taking greater hold among service providers, but there is still a ways to go. Currently DevOps is being put into practice by 46% service providers, but only in very limited areas of their IT environment, primarily in the digital domains.
A further 18% do note that they have a plan to adopt DevOps over the next 1-2 years, while 27% are still evaluating DevOps, and 9% are not exploring it at all.
Continuous releases: not ready for prime time
While we expect to see service providers putting various aspects of DevOps methodologies and culture into practice, most are still not ready for deploying continuous releases.
Moving to continuous releases means that testing and deployment of new code into production happens frequently, i.e. every few weeks instead of every 6 to 12 months. This allows features and capabilities to be updated and brought to market faster and provides flexibility to react and make rapid changes.
According to the Analysys Mason survey, 81% of the respondents reported that they will stay with traditional methods over the next 2-3 years. That is, they will continue to deploy changes every 6-12 months, even if their software vendors are ready with new code every month or quarter. In fact, only 18% report to be ready today for continuous releases.
Coexistence in the Hybrid IT environment
As service providers accelerate the deployment of new cloud-native, microservices-based applications alongside their existing traditional applications – they are faced with new and complex challenges.
According to the survey, 91% of service providers believe that operating cloud-native systems alongside traditional ones will be a critical challenge moving ahead. Of these, 64% note that they will need to re-skill their workforce, and 27% note that they will need to rely on a third party to support this effort.
This complex ‘hybrid IT’ environment, where cloud native will co-exist with the traditional, will persist for the next 5-10 years.
To learn more about the state of adoption of key technologies transforming service providers’ IT environment and operations, we invite you to download the detailed report from Analysys Mason.