Software companies are under constant pressure to provide updates, develop new features, and quickly release applications without compromising quality and efficiency. This continuous development cycle can often give rise to issues that can hamper or completely stop production. In recent years, approaches to keeping this rapid cycle efficient and secure have evolved in the DevOps.
DevOps is a set of tools, practices, and strategies that combines software development and IT operations in order to increase the ability of an organization to deliver software products and IT services faster and with high efficiency. In other words, DevOps is when you remove the barriers between two different teams — the development team and the operations team — with separate responsibilities and have them work together to mitigate real-world problems.
The development team creates a product in a controlled development environment, specifically developing the code, testing the final output, and quality assurance. Meanwhile, the operations team manages the IT architecture, environment development, and deployment. Each team has a hands-off policy when it comes to the other team’s tasks, and this often results in software quality issues, delays, and frustration among team members.
DevOps removes silos and bridges the gap between teams to facilitate communication, coordination, and cooperation with each other from development to testing, deployment, and operations.
NetDevOps is where DevOps and networking intersect.
What is NetDevOps?
For systems to communicate and operate properly, they rely on networking. But an organization’s network infrastructure can be susceptible to various risks and issues, including human error. NetDevOps brings the technical methods, tools, strategies, and practices used in DevOps to networking. It provides network automation and monitoring that helps minimize these human errors through the intelligent management of your network operations and infrastructure configuration.
To minimize the risks of network configuration changes, NetDevOps leverages two key DevOps practices: Infrastructure as Code or IaC and CI/CD.
IaC, also called software-defined or programmable infrastructure, is the provisioning and managing of data center resources via machine-readable definition files. It is an alternative to physical configuration files or physical hardware and interactive config devices.
When you apply the IaC approach with network device configurations, it is called Network as Code. The idea is to store the whole network’s configurations in a “Version Control System”, which manages and tracks network changes. The VCS is considered the single source of truth for everything related to network configuration.
CI/CD consists of Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD), and Continuous Deployment.
In CI, developers frequently merge revisions to the code into the code base or the central repository. Every check-in is verified by unit tests. Through this, teams are able to detect problems early on.
CD, meanwhile, extends CI. When CI is complete, the code gets deployed into a test environment for further testing, which includes load and integration testing. Necessary software artifacts are then prepared for deployment to production, which is triggered manually.
Continuous Deployment is the same as CD. However, deployment to production is instead triggered automatically.
NetDevOps also utilizes automation, where automation and scalability principles are applied to network infrastructure in place of traditional manual procedures.
Giving small, yet frequent updates is also important to making the deployment process less risky.
Developing a NetDevOps Culture
To develop a NetDevOps culture in your organization requires:
- Accepting failure and learning from it.
- Understanding that change is the only constant thing and it is necessary for development.
- Promoting the sense of ownership, accountability, and responsibility among teams.
- Establishing active coordination and collaboration between the development and operations teams.
- Setting up continuous feedback systems that will help improve processes and escalate iteration.
- Implementing end-to-end automation to completely change the life cycle.
A shift in culture will change the way networks are managed, operated, automated, and scaled up in your organization. This ensures synergy among the teams and their effective collaboration.
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