Move over “selfie” — “NetDevOps” is the hottest buzzword that everybody is talking about! It’s so popular that the term even has its own hashtag on Twitter. But when you take the word out of social media, does anyone really know what it means? Or how this perfect portmanteau can revolutionize your data center? Let’s take a moment to discuss what NetDevOps really is all about. In this post, we’ll go over the definition, the best practices, and the tech that best incorporates NetDevOps. Now, when you see #NetDevOps appear on your feed, you can tweet it out with confidence.
What does it all mean?
If you understand the basic principles of DevOps, then congratulations! You’re two-thirds of the way to grasping the concept of NetDevOps. For the uninitiated, DevOps embraces the ideology of interoperability and communication between the development and operations teams in order to break down silos and create better products. The movement also encourages automation and monitoring in order to increase efficiency and reduce error.
DevOps is certainly a great movement, but like the VCR and the DVD player, something new came along and improved upon it. This is where NetDevOps comes in. So, what exactly is NetDevOps? We asked a team of highly-qualified professionals (our in-house engineers) and this is the wisdom they gave us:
- “NetDevOps is the process of making the running of networking gear at scale as efficient as the running of server gear at scale.”
- “It’s a practice that is at-scale and uses automated management tools.”
- “NetDevOps is a culture, movement, or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both network architects and operators while automating the process of network design and changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing network changes can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.”
- “It’s DevOps with Net in the front.”
Okay, that last definition might be a little too obvious. But if we look at all of these explanations and average them out, we get a pretty consistent definition. Instead of only applying to software developers and IT operations, NetDevOps extends the ideology of DevOps to the network. Simple as that. If you’re already utilizing automation tools in the compute world, why not also use them in networking? Just take the concepts of DevOps, think of them in the context of the network, and you’ve got the NetDevOps meaning!
How can it help my data center?
When you start taking the concepts of DevOps and applying them to your network, the benefits start rolling in, from reduced network downtime to increased savings. But how exactly does NetDevOps make those assets a reality? Let’s break it down.
- Demolish human silos: The whole point of NetDevOps is to encourage communication among teams in order to increase efficiency and foster collaboration so that the company can create the best possible products and services. In other words, there’s no room for the confining human silos that plague companies of any scale. When faced with issues, it’s far more efficient and pragmatic to have multiple teams working towards a solution than letting people turn a blind eye because it’s “not their problem.” This includes extending tools between the application, server and networking space. Finding the best in breed solutions in each use case and applying that across the entire IT infrastructure helps build that consistency between silos. For example, automation tooling that has already worked in the server infrastructure can be extended into the network, and connectivity solutions in the network can be extended into the application, and monitoring solutions used in the application space can be extended across the entire IT infrastructure.
- Reduce manual intervention with IaC: Let’s face it: having to log into your server and make manual changes every time there’s a change in the network is a hassle. It wastes time and increases the possibility of human error. Fortunately, NetDevOps has a solution — Infrastructure as code (IaC). IaC is the process of managing computer data centers through machine-readable definition files instead of physical intervention. While IaC is often mixed-up with automation and they are both key to successful integration of NetDevOps, it’s important to remember that IaC is different from automation. It’s a term that encompasses more than automation, in that it asks for NetDevOps practices to also be applied to the process of automation. IaC must ensure that automation scripts are free of errors, are able to be redeployed on multiple servers, can be rolled back, and are accessible to all teams. So, when you’re looking to incorporate NetDevOps practices to decrease manual intervention, make sure to consider IaC.
- Increase automation: Incorporating automation is one of the NetDevOps practices that can greatly improve your data center and reduce human error. What makes automation so valuable for your network is that you can unify it to deploy your network as a single node. Now, you no longer need different automation and deployment methods for the network, application, and server; they’re all brought together in one best-of-breed solution. If you’re ready to start automating and optimizing your network with NetDevOps, check out this blog post about the best practices you need to get started. Or, if you’d like a real-world example of how automation can revolutionize your datacenter, read this case study to discover how leveraging automation helped BlueJeans provision new data centers in under 30 minutes.
What kind of tech supports NetDevOps?
Now that you’ve decided to incorporate NetDevOps principles into your data center, it’s time to invest in the technology that can keep up with your new ideology. Fortunately, Cumulus has your back. If you’re ready to take advantage of all NetDevOps has to offer, here are some products to help:
- Cumulus Linux: Our open source network operating system for bare metal switches is the first step you can take towards bringing DevOps principles into your network. Start automating with a completely open architecture that allows for easy automation. Plus, existing open source and commercial Linux applications run natively, meaning Cumulus Linux works with your existing toolsets. For more information about how Cumulus Linux can boost your network automation, check out our network automation solutions page.
- NetQ: The perfect companion to Cumulus Linux, NetQ is our telemetry-based fabric validation system. With NetQ, network automation becomes a breeze. NetQ’s proactive, preventative, and diagnostic capabilities ensure that the network is behaving as intended by automating repetitive tasks. Read this blog post about automating troubleshooting with NetQ to understand NetQ’s unlimited capabilities. In addition to improved automation and monitoring, NetQ has unparalleled visibility that unifies the entire stack in a single view, which means delegating across adjacent teams and busting silos become much easier.