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The Old Way of Building Enterprise Apps is Dead. Long Live Microservices.

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AT&T’s Microservices Supplier Program Launches with IBM to Accelerate Next-Gen Technology for Software Developers

The old way of building enterprise apps needs to change as network demands explode. We think microservices are the future of software development. And we're not alone.

AT&T* is launching its microservices supplier program to offer a new approach to delivering business functionality. It means faster capacity updates and pushing them out at the speed of the internet.

At the launch of the AT&T program and building on the 2 companies’ long-term strategic relationship, IBM will collaborate with AT&T to design, develop and deploy microservices that will transform AT&T’s business backend processes. IBM’s creation of microservices across sales, ordering, and enterprise data will enhance and modernize AT&T’s mission critical systems. This enables higher-performing backend processing with minimal downtime while allowing the whole business to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics through the deployment of new fast and easy to access services and capabilities.

“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, 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.”

What are microservices?

Microservices are an architectural style in which enterprise apps are made up of independent services working together. In other words, these apps are divided into small “blocks” or microservices, with each “block” supporting a specific business function, such as streamlined workflows or mobile payments.

Take a mobile payment function, for example. If it needs an upgrade or a new feature, it’s now possible to make changes without overhauling the whole app. Microservices can also be combined in multiple ways to develop tailored solutions for internal and external needs. This lets us offer new capabilities faster than ever before.

Why do microservices matter?

While we’re in the early stages of our microservice development, we’ve already seen the power they unleash. We recently announced Acumos, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications, built with microservices.

We’re also using microservices internally. One example is called Work Flow. Our field technicians routinely faced complex and disparate work flows while addressing customer issues. To solve this, the team created a microservice that pulls relevant resources together and walks a technician through the proper installation or repair steps, using a consistent yet customized approach.

Another example is one which established a single mechanism to create, manage and track contracts across business products, eliminating the many cumbersome and disparate processes that were previously in use. The impact of microservices on internal operations has led to a savings of several million dollars per year. Many teams can now introduce or recall many services in under 5 minutes. 

Microservices are also being used within ONAP, the brains of our Software Defined Network (SDN). ONAP makes delivering virtual network functions to internal and external customers faster than ever before.

And microservices are critical to our next generation network vision. It will bring SDN together with big data and super-fast connectivity, as well as make protected data-sharing communities possible. One example of this is healthcare professionals will be able to work together on patient treatment plans while keeping identities safe. Many of this new network’s reusable, packaged and pluggable software capabilities will be built using microservices, as well as other key initiatives like our evolution to 5G and cybersecurity.

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network** and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and on YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

**Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q1 + Q2 2017 across 121 markets.

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