Making the shift to the cloud and cloud-native architecture is becoming increasingly crucial for the telecoms industry to be able to react more quickly to challenges and changes posed by new digital native entrants. But what does cloud-native mean?
The official definition of cloud-native is:
“Cloud-native technologies empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.
These techniques enable loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable. Combined with robust automation, they allow engineers to make high-impact changes frequently and predictably with minimal toil.”
So, what are the implications for telco businesses?
Modularity via microservices
Let’s start with microservices.
Our industry used to write monolith applications, where everything runs together as one big system. If any part of the application needed an update, a security vulnerability fixed, new functionality added, or to resolve an issue, the entire application would have to be re-installed. Microservices are just what they sound like - instead of developing complex monolith applications, we structure applications into small “micro” independent pieces which together form an application. This means that an update to one microservice does not require all to be updated.
Microservices are packaged into containers
Microservices typically run in containers. These can be thought of as stripped-down virtual machines, providing only the bare minimum to run a service. Services running in containers are also isolated from one another.
Docker, a tool designed to make it easier to create, deploy, and run applications using containers, is a prevalent example of how to run services in containers, but it’s not the only way. Other container runtime environments such as CoreOS Rocket (Rkt), Mesos, Linux Containers (lxc), and others are steadily growing as the market continues to evolve and diversify.
Orchestrating a suite of containers with Kubernetes
We need to orchestrate the containers with microservices to ensure they are running the microservices required. Container orchestration means automating the deployment, management scaling, and networking of containers. The microservices need to discover each other and communicate. Kubernetes is a container orchestration system. It also provides networking interfaces, storage layers, secrets management, configurations for services, and much more, all managed with a single standard API.
Kubernetes also allows microservices to be scaled independently or as a group. They are managed so that a defined set of services is always available, restarting containers that fail or fail to respond, updating versions of containers in a rollout or stop and replace manner.
Enabling solution to be executed in multiple cloud options with Kubernetes
Kubernetes allows us to run similar services in the cloud or in an on-premises data center as long as the Kubernetes service is available. For example, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) can be used to manage clusters of Amazon EC2 compute instances and runs containers on those instances with processes for deployment, maintenance, and scaling. And no matter the location, all Kubernetes commands and configurations will function in the same manner. However, if there is more than one Kubernetes cluster technology, that cluster needs to be managed.
Establishing an overarching management framework over multiple clouds with Rancher
Rancher provides a central location for managing multiple Kubernetes clusters. The organized groups can be in any cloud or even a bare metal-based Kubernetes installation. It also centralizes Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for all clusters.
With all that in mind, the question remains, what does this mean for business?
When we design and run services in a Cloud Native way, we get the following:
Faster deployments - because we update small pieces of applications, and more often
Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD)– automated and repeatable delivery of new code
Improved reliability - updates without downtime
Fault Isolation - issues are isolated to one microservice
Improved scalability - different layers of the application scale independently
Better reusability – no matter the scale of deployment. One size does not fit all, but one model can.
Business Agility - by deploying small slices of applications rapidly and predictably
In short, Cloud-Native design lets the business focus on doing business and achieve success with technical and business transformations.
At Qvantel, all of our development pipelines are running in virtual private clouds, regardless of the final delivery location. In our recent customer cases, our Qvantel Flex BSS has been deployed using the above cloud-native architecture, including cases where deployment has been made entirely remotely, leveraging cloud-native technology.
One of the examples of Qvantel cloud-based deployments is Altan, the first fully wholesaler Mobile Operator in the world, serving the Mexican market:
“For Altán, a cloud-native digital solution is essential to provide an efficient and scalable platform for MVNO businesses in the local market.
Qvantel’s open digital platform helps us to deliver great customer experiences, monetize digital services and enables efficient cloud-based operation.”
Gabriel Cejudo, Chief Commercial Officer at Altán
Qvantel invests continuously in technology leadership for delivering customer value:
“For Qvantel, cloud-native architecture is one of the aspects that provide flexibility and cost efficiency due to a wide variety of cloud capabilities. This complements the power of the Qvantel Flex approach, where unprecedented business agility is provided by no-code GUIs, letting the business take control of the business changes.
We are excited to be the pioneer of this new approach to the BSS and to deliver our unique Qvantel Flex BSS on Amazon Web Services, providing excellent geographical reach, leading-edge cloud services, and outstanding support for telco-industry specific solutions and partners.”
Niilo Neuvo, CTO of Qvantel
Qvantel is recognized by the industry as being at the leading edge of cloud-native design:
“The world’s telecommunications providers are accelerating their shift to cloud to help them reduce costs, innovate faster, and deliver business-critical communication services with the utmost flexibility, reliability, security and scalability.
Qvantel’s expertise and the speed at which they are capable of deploying digital native solutions on AWS has established them as a trusted partner to the telecoms industry.”
Antonello Arpino, Principal BSS Business Development Manager at Amazon Web Services
Click here to contact Qvantel for more information or to book a demo.