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NetDevOps, and the Rise of the Programmable Network (PN)

- March 2, 2018 - 0 Comments

In the “old” days, applications and infrastructure were designed and built by separate teams. But things have changed. Cloud infrastructure has emerged and beckons cloud applications into play. And just like that we’ve entered the world of DevOps, where new applications are being deployed with expectations of CI/CD pipelines— making deployment more dynamic, more responsive.

Now we’re seeing the emergence of a new discipline – NetDevOps – where teams are applying DevOps principles and techniques to utilizing a software programmable network to manage, deploy, and run applications.

In my previous blog, I talked about the rise of the Network API, and how that is creating transformational opportunities for application developers.

The Programmable Network: Treating the Network as Code

In NetDevOps, because the network is programmable, we can now treat the network as code. That means you can more quickly and accurately provision your infrastructure. When you’re managing thousands (or tens of thousands) of devices, you quickly realize that lots of individually configured and managed systems (aka: snowflakes) slows you down. All that system variation makes it harder to roll out changes. We need to move from system variation to system consistency.

So, instead of managing them as individual devices that you configure, you can actually treat them as a software system. Treating the network as code makes it easier to roll out software changes, pullback software changes, and manage version control. And this gives you an ability to automate so you can scale your applications. You can scale your configuration changes. And, if you’re automating at scale, you need lots of analytics and assurance to know that the right things are happening. In fact we recently brought to DevNet a new tool to test changes called pyATS, Python Automation Test Framework, that allow you to write tests that look at the desired behavior of the network, and see if it’s behaving correctly.

It’s an exciting time at DevNet, as we bring application developers, ops engineers, and network engineers, together to advance the practice of NetDevOps. What’s even more exciting for NetDevOps is all of the APIs that Cisco is opening up on our network controllers and devices.

We’ll be talking a lot about NetDevOps at the upcoming DevNet Create conference in Mountain View, California, April 10-11, with a full track dedicated to DevOps, microservices, and security. See the full agenda for DevNet Create and register to attend.

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