The telecommunications environment is growing increasingly complex. Service providers are virtualizing their networks, building for rapid traffic growth with limited revenue growth, and grappling with the Internet of Things (IoT) impact from hundreds of millions of new devices globally connecting to the network every year. 

To make matters even more complex, they are transforming their software and application infrastructure and migrating to 5G so they can deliver the digital services required to compete in the 21st century.  They still need to run much of their businesses on legacy networks and services and to maximize their investment returns on legacy operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), but they must lay a foundation for the future with new technologies that bring the agility to adapt to accelerating market changes. 

The challenge: How can organizations minimize the risk of transitioning the legacy systems, applications, and the OSS/BSS of today —in a secure and cost-effective manner— to a modern infrastructure that includes cloud, open APIs and other modern technologies so they can realize the value of their networks, applications, and data? A combination of lightweight and distributed integration called Agile Integration can help control the pace and risk of the journey, but it needs to be scalable, secure, and simple to manage. And it should enable innovation among internal teams, with vendors and with partners, helping to clear the hurdles created by multi-vendor environments  and the service delivery bottlenecks that can be caused by monolithic enterprise service bus (ESB) approaches.

Taking an application programming interface (API)-centric approach to integration can address these issues for service providers. 

A Foundation for the Future

Using APIs to expose data and functionality opens the door to new service enhancements and greater efficiency; extending the life of legacy applications and systems, increasing the agility and scalability of OSS and BSS, improving security through integration with single sign-on (SSO) or identity provider solutions, and reducing maintenance costs. With API-centric integration solutions in place, service providers can build the foundation for effectively monetizing their assets and for collaborating more readily  with partners and growing their ecosystems.

Red Hat’s API-centric agile integration solution delivers a flexible platform for rapid application and data integration. The agile integration solution is built upon three technology pillars: 

  • Distributed integration for increased flexibility. 

  • Containers for hybrid cloud deployment and enhanced scalability.

  • Managed APIs for greater reusability.

From these pillars emerges a reference architecture for digital service providers that includes several key functional areas: 

  • API gateways that collectively aggregate up to thousands of integration points from back end applications for internal and external access. 

  • Lightweight and modular mediation that provides connections among other elements of the architecture through its composition, integration, and transformation  components.

  • Microservice-oriented architecture that interfaces with the mediation or back-end layer for integration with the rest of the architecture.

  • Messaging that enables reliable, high-speed, and high-volume asynchronous communications among software components.  

  • Enhancing functions, such as service discovery and life-cycle management that provide shared capabilities to the API gateways, microservices and other applications. 

The managed APIs, messaging, and integration capabilities of the solution are containerized and certified for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. With this solution as a foundation, service providers can begin their journey to migrate their OSS and BSS systems from monolithic applications to microservices-based designs by keeping these systems intact, step-by-step prioritizing, and implementing their key functions as microservices. The newly created microservices may offer a more efficient and agile set of functions that can still work together with the OSS and BSS capabilities that have not been migrated.

Service providers around the world have worked with Red Hat to implement API-centric integration of internal and external systems, improving compliance and security, accelerating innovation, and reducing costs. As environments become increasingly complex, Red Hat API-centric agile integration solutions can help deliver more flexibility, increased scalability, and better efficiency through software reuse. Interested in learning more about how to modernize your OSS and BSS with Red Hat? Head to our Telecommunications page.