Why does a software solution have to be so difficult? The answer is, it doesn’t.
MicroApplications (MicroApps) are small software applications frequently used for mobility platforms, like mobile phone apps. When we use the term MicroApplications at Fujitsu we have a broader definition.
A MicroApplication is a small software application that addresses a specific customer problem or use case. MicroApps are increasingly popular because they can be developed and deployed quickly and cost-effectively.
Let’s break that down a bit more.
- Small – It’s in the name – Micro. The term small is in comparison to larger monolithic software applications used in the telecommunications industry, such as Element Management Systems (EMS) or Network Assurance platforms. These types of software platforms are designed to address many use cases and therefore are bigger — both in the amount of code required, as well as the time to develop and test them prior to rolling into production.
- Specific – MicroApps are designed to address a specific customer need, typically an operational need, such as backing up a network element database, or extracting performance data from a router.
MicroApps, however, are not necessarily simple to develop or implement. They can be small and focused, yet still address hard problems that have multiple degrees of complexity. An example of this would be around the IS-IS based routing protocol Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) used in traditional SONET/SDN network equipment.
Like many routing protocols, a flat network is a problem from a routing table perspective. Fujitsu developed a MicroApp that helped discover, analyze, and subdivide these OSI networks into smaller routing instances to prevent oversubscription, and therefore communication loss.
- Faster & Cost-Effective – The third element of a MicroApp is how quickly its benefits can be achieved. Today more than ever, network service providers are looking for a faster return on investment (ROI) when considering a software solution to problems. One year or less is now considered a must but can be a challenge for larger software platforms.
Because they are smaller and focused on a single use case, MicroApps can better meet this ROI timeline by simply delivering the solution faster. As an example of this, Fujitsu developed a fully functional, multi-vendor database back-up MicroApp for one of our customers in less than 90 days. This project was completed through a one-time purchase, the benefit of which could be realized in the same fiscal year. An equivalent network management system would have cost millions of dollars and carried hefty annual support contracts for years to come.
Fujitsu Network Communications has a long history in the telecommunications industry, both for our optical acumen but also as part of our larger heritage as one of the world’s leading ICT companies. We are committed to helping our customers on many levels of software development, and recognize the importance of MicroApps in the evolving world of telecommunications and software automation. To learn more, view the introductory video here: