A Little Lesson on Microservices

Microservices is a hot topic in the context of NFV at the moment. But what is it, exactly? Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor breaks it down and explains it all in a recent interview with TelecomTV.

The term refers to a software architecture style that’s used in building Web-scale applications and is relevant to NFV, according to Taylor.

“Microservices is all about taking large, complicated system problems and breaking them down into much more digestible subsystems, or microservices,” he said. “They are loosely coupled… but they all coordinate together to deliver some complex capability.”

The benefit of approaching things in this way, he explained, is that small teams of people can work on a specific part of a big problem and build something that’s relatively simple and compatible with the greater whole. Also, when it comes to revising an application, a microservices-based approach allows you to incrementally enhance the software a little bit at a time, “rather than the monolithic style of applications with millions of lines of code where every change has the risk of destabilizing something else.”

Adopting a microservices-based approach offers network operators a way to innovate more rapidly and be more agile, which is what they are looking to achieve with NFV.

“At Metaswitch, we don’t enable microservices, but we embrace the concept and put it into practice,” said Taylor. “The best example of that is our Clearwater IMS.”

For more of Taylor’s excellent explanation of microservices and the implications for network operators, please watch the interview on TelecomTV.

For more on why microservices matters to NFV now, check out our blog post, Taking Out the Trash: The Decomposition of Virtualized Network Functions.