February 19, 2017 | Written by: Steven Teitzel
Categorized: Network Agility
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Cloud brings to the network a set of capabilities beyond virtualization. Cloud opens an opportunity of innovation for network. Cloud opened for IT more than optimization of delivery through virtualization. Cloud opened an ability at scale in IT to innovate that is called Agile DevOps. Applying this to networking opens more value from cloud-based networking, enables the network service lifecycle and contributes to further unify OSS. Agile Network DevOps provides a way to optimize operations and speed further reinventing networks.
DevOps enables the rapid delivery of innovation. Agile is about lean and effective software development. With networks now becoming software and the need to create services is about assembling and chaining software components together using SDN, Agile Network DevOps enables a lean and effective to deliver network innovation rapidly. As these multiple components in an open world come from multiple vendors with multiple releases the need for having a continuous way to on-board, test components, test services and release into operations is needed – a way of doing continuous engineering. Agile network DevOps provides a way to drive agile DevOps in a network environment continuously, across the service lifecycle contributing to the unification of OSS as talked about in a prior article in this series.
What is needed for agile network DevOps? Network teams in a cloud-based networking world need to be composed of developers, operations, service and sales. Some may even include the vendors of the functions used in the process so results are tracked and immediate input to function development can be provided for remediation. These diverse teams may be number many in a company as network services are developed and maintained continuously. Enabling this type of agile DevOps at scale requires common tooling across the lifecycle to enable teams to iterate development or composing network services. This tooling needs to be able to enable the team and management across a spectrum from gathering requirements to tracking and enabling testing of the network service at both a component level when on-boarded from a VNF package to a service level.
Testing and test management in a consistent manner across the service lifecycle is required to reduce the time and friction that this needed verification process injects into the network service lifecycle. To reduce the time, having enablement of the testing process with a test workflow is needed but an automation of testing also can help to further reduce time and increase speed of innovation. Automated testing in a common method provides a rapid way to on-board VNF’s, virtual network services during service design, and then again during deployment into an operating environment. Enabling agile at scale, enabling communication across the network development teams, and enabling innovation testing in a rapid manner provides enablement of the network service lifecycle.
As agile network DevOps is applied, the power of cloud innovation comes to is realized in the new software -based network. Network environments can be rapidly assembled for consideration versus the long development times often needed in labs today. Cloud enables test environments and the test traffic to be rapidly scaled at low costs and then assets returned for reuse in the cloud, reducing development costs and time for development. Automation using this cloud environment reduces the test times required and begins to enable rapid innovation of network services from a legacy world of innovation in months to innovation done in weeks and for maintenance upgrades for service issues to days. Innovation can begin to be done at the speed of the cloud in a world of agile network DevOps. Test automation enables rapid innovation as applied across the service lifecycle.
Agile network DevOps provides network service lifecycle a unified way to test consistently yet with the rigor service providers are respected for and expected to deliver. Agile network DevOps helps to unify OSS and rapidly reinvent networks for service providers. Recent work with the TMForum in PoC’s (called catalysts) such as Joint Agile Delivery has shown how to utilize common tooling in a multi-vendor environment for agile network DevOps.
See also — What makes a ‘living network‘? Find out here.