When I joined DevNet in December of 2016 it was to dive deep and hard into all things network automation and programmability. Fairly quickly I was entranced with the idea of NetDevOps, and working out how to apply ideas like Infrastructure as Code, Configuration Management, CICD, Streaming Telemetry, ChatOps, etc from DevOps to networking.  For a look back at my own journey, you can checkout some of my blogs here:

It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve been humbled by all the amazing discussions and comments from the #DevNet community who have joined me on this ride.  And don’t worry, the ride isn’t over.

Musing on how to turn NetDevOps loose in DevNet Sandbox's DCs
Musing on how to turn NetDevOps loose in DevNet Sandbox’s DCs


Applying NetDevOps in the Wild

One of the most common questions I get is “How do I get started with NetDevOps and automation in my real network?”  This is such an important question.  There is a HUGE difference between testing out some Python code, a playbook, or new tool in a lab or with DevNet Sandbox and running those same tools and ideas in your production network that your enterprise relies on. What does it take to leap the chasm from “dev” to “prod”?

I’ve been talking about this problem for awhile now, but about 4 months ago I started wanting to try out the ideas and methods myself in a real network. This would let me know what really works at scale, what other products and tools I need to integrate with, which are already in play when delivering a service, but more importantly I could share the lessons learned with the community. I started floating the idea around with the team inside of DevNet and everyone thought it was a great idea, and in December 2018 I officially joined the Sandbox Engineering team as NetDevOps Mastermind (self given title, still working with Cisco HR to make it an official job role). It’s only been about 5 working weeks since I started, but it’s already been an amazing and productive time.

My goal is to drive adoptions of NetDevOps principals into the design, operations, and culture of Sandbox DC design and operations as fast as possible (Sandbox Senior Manager Tom Davies will be my speed governor in this exercise).  This will involve a thorough exploration of everything that makes up the Sandbox platform today to build a current state, and then the construction of a target state goal.  From there we’ll build a phased plan to get from A to B, so to speak.

What you can expect is an honest telling from me about the good, the bad, and the ugly of our journey. Keep an eye out for blog posts, videos, talks, and of course the regular tweets and LinkedIn posts about how things are going and whatever our current project is.  And if you’re are going to be at Cisco Live Barcelona at the end of January, be sure to stop by the Sandbox booth in DevNet Zone to say high, chat about the journey, or just grab some stickers!

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Hank Preston

Principal Engineer

Learning and Certifications