AT&T partners with IBM to improve backend processes with microservices

AT&T announced it is partnering with IBM to deliver a new microservices supplier program. According to the companies, IBM will work with AT&T to develop and launch microservices that will improve business backend processes.

Microservices is a method of developing software applications that has become increasingly popular within recent years. The process involves breaking large scale, monolithic applications into smaller, composable pieces that work together. Embracing microservices enables services to achieve greater flexibility and reduces costs due to the granularity and reusability of the lightweight technology. According to a recent study report published Market Research Future, the microservices market is expected to accrue $33 billion by 2023.

The collaboration builds upon a long-term partnership between AT&T and IBM. By creating microservices across sales, ordering and enterprise data, IBM said it would enhance AT&T’s backend process with minimal downtime, enabling the business to quickly deploy new services and capabilities. According to AT&T, the introduction of microservices into internal operations has helped save millions of dollars per year, and allow teams to introduce or recall many services in less than five minutes.

“Our software journey has focused on virtualizing our network functions to give more speed and flexibility than the traditional hardware model,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re now looking at the 2,200+ apps in our IT system. And we’re starting to break them up into microservices to create agility, speed, and scalability that wasn’t possible before. Microservices are at the very core of our vision for the future of our network.”

The companies did not disclose details concerning the duration and costs attached to the deal other than it was a multi-year agreement. IBM said costs anchored to development for AT&T will decrease upon the company becoming more efficient with microservices. The company has already started using microservices within its network. Earlier this week, for instance, AT&T debuted an artificial intelligence (A.I.) platform dubbed Acumos, with an initial focus on developing apps and microservices. Micrososervices are also being utilized by ONAP, the basis of AT&T’s SDN network, which delivers virtual network functions to internal and external customers.

The announcement signals a wider initiative by AT&T to rebrand itself as a service provider beyond phones and web connection for companies. According to AT&T, the company intends to virtualize and manage more than 75% of its network by 2020 using software-defined architecture.

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