Engineering DevOps For Networks
Networks are no longer composed of black boxes with strictly fixed functionality. With technologies such as 5G and SD-WAN introducing the ability to deploy an almost endless array of features, the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) market is growing exponentially. Network Equipment Manufacturers’ (NEMs) and Network Service Providers’ (NSPs) business strategies are leaping to leverage these SDN market trends.
Successful strategies to improve business outcomes for NEMs and NSPs require engineering three business processes:
Rapid delivery of innovative new feature releases generates top-line revenue and improves business competitiveness.
Operational efficiencies improve resource utilization and save money for the business bottom line.
Improvements to product and services quality improve end-customer satisfaction and improve business growth.
DevOps for networks share many of the same challenges as DevOps for enterprise software systems. Both must address common issues with leadership, culture, design, integration, testing, monitoring, infrastructure, security, and delivery/deployment—referred to as the Nine Pillars of DevOps.
Similarly, DevOps for networks can leverage many of the same solutions and concepts as DevOps for enterprise software systems. Like DevOps, NetDevOps solutions involve:
Change management of all software and configuration artifacts that are necessary to build, deploy and operate the network,
Removing bottlenecks by implementing Continuous Development (CD) / Continuous Delivery (CD) and Deployment (CD) toolchains,
Orchestrating infrastructures such as test and deployment environments that, as much as possible replicate the live production environments,
Automation of processes and tests in a manner that “shift-left” activities as much as possible, and
Automated checks and balances that ensure the new faster processes do not sacrifice security or quality.
This whitepaper discusses how to engineer NetDevOps using an end-to-end Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) model. It shows how engineering practices in which NEMS positioned as Dev, and NSPs positioned as Ops, cooperating through a common Delivery Stage, can realize important business outcomes including rapid delivery of new feature releases, while improving operational efficiencies and product and services quality.