skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration

Straight Talk Service Provider Technology

Ovum view

IT vendors targeting the communications service provider (CSP) community are increasingly promoting the benefits of microservices architectures, seeking to convince CSPs that they need to invest in a new architectural framework if they are to effectively support continuous innovation. However, many CSPs are still not ready to make the move.

On the one hand, the potential benefits are clear. As more CSPs adopt DevOps, it becomes possible to take the next step to a cloud-native approach. The implementation of a microservices architecture and containerization enables the continuous delivery of large, complex applications as loosely coupled services, thus enabling shorter innovation cycles, increased agility, improved scalability, and reduced opex.

With this in mind, most telco IT vendors are seeking to make themselves microservices-ready. At this year's TM Forum Live! conference, most vendors seemed to be pitching the progress they had made on this front. For example, Netcracker was highlighting the cloud-native and microservices-based elements of its new Netcracker 12 portfolio, Nokia and Amdocs were both promoting their cloud-native strategies and quoting lively timelines for the shift of various elements to a microservices architecture, and vendors such as HPE and Oracle were delivering progress updates or product announcements.

But where are CSPs on this journey? Here it is more of a mixed story. Some of the tier-0 operators, such as Vodafone, are pressing on full speed ahead, but it's often the same major operators that have made progress with cloud and virtualization initiatives. At the aforementioned TM Forum Live! event, Vodafone's chief IT systems architect shared the "Vodafone Ocean" group-wide network virtualization story, highlighting the progress that had been made with the operator's shift to a microservices architecture and cloud-native approach. This is all part of Vodafone's drive to transform its global network into a shared resource and platform on which applications can be speedily built.

However, many CSPs are nowhere near that stage. This is not surprising given that SDN/NFV adoption has already opened up a gap between the key early adopters, such as AT&T and Telefonica, and a relatively large silent majority that is moving more slowly. The timing for a microservices and containerization push is not ideal given that most CSPs are still trying to get their heads around virtualization and the move to the cloud.

A microservices approach also requires other elements to be in place, such as DevOps, and yet many CSPs still don't have these necessary building blocks in place because they are wary of the radical cultural change required, such as breaking down legacy organizational silos and getting to grips with new paradigms such as open source.

None of this will stop the adoption of microservices architectures in its tracks, but it will impact the timescales for adoption. This is partly why, to help move things forward, many vendors are expanding their professional services capabilities to encompass cloud enablement, agile development and DevOps, and the development of cloud-native infrastructures. With a little hand-holding, the CSP shift to microservices-based architectures will come, especially if vendors remember to stress the business benefits. But for the reasons mentioned above, Ovum is expecting the migration of CSPs to microservices architectures to be a relatively gradual one.

Straight Talk is a weekly briefing from the desk of the Chief Research Officer. To receive this newsletter by email, please contact us.

Recommended Articles

  • Service Provider Markets, Consumer & Entertainment Services,...

    MWC 2018 Highlights

    By Ronan De Renesse 27 Feb 2018

    Over 20 of our senior Ovum analysts and consultants attended this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. In between meetings, briefings and presentations, our analyst team were blogging and tweeting about key developments, trends and rumors. Have a look through our daily MWC 2018 Highlights to find out what happened.

    Topics 5G AI IoT Cloud Payments SDN/NFV Smart home

  • Enterprise Decision Maker, Enterprise IT Strategy and Select...

    2017 Trends to Watch: Big Data

    By Tony Baer 21 Nov 2016

    The breakout use case for big data will be fast data. The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the urgency for enterprises to embrace real-time streaming analytics, as use cases from mobile devices and sensors become compelling to a wide range of industry sectors.

    Topics Big data and analytics IoT

  • Consumer & Entertainment Services

    US pay TV: Is it facing an existential threat?

    By Adam Thomas 28 Mar 2018

    With US pay TV having endured the worst year in its history, thoughts have inevitably turned to the future. The likelihood remains that the immediate future will remain highly uncomfortable for everyone except the scaled multinational digital platforms.


Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team - +44 (0) 207 017 7700

Asia-Pacific team - +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team - +1 646 957 8878

+44 (0) 207 551 9047 - Operational from 09.00 - 17.00 UK time

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Call us at +44 7770704398 or email us at

Contact marketing -

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now