By JT Taylor, Senior Manager, Service Provider Video Solutions Marketing, Cisco
There comes a point in every industry where the evolution of how things get done changes. First there was manual cotton picking, then there was the cotton gin. First there were custom builds, then there were assembly lines. No matter the deliverable, we ultimately get things done better, and more efficiently.
Today’s industrialization chapter, especially as it relates to getting things done better, faster, and more efficiently in video delivery, is equal parts automation, and DevOps — the blending of the people who do development, and the people who keep the machines running, in operations.
For lots of us, DevOps is a relatively new ideology, even though it’s not new at all — in fact, it is standard operating procedure for the web and mobile industries. For them, working in an agile manner, with a DevOps backing, has always been the new normal.
In the pay TV industry, though, I’d say we’re pretty much at the front gates of “going DevOps.” It’s a mindset, really, and a cultural shift, best adopted at the forefront of the development process. Why: If our engineers and technologists build a better mousetrap, but no one in the organization knows how to set it up, use it, or get ongoing support, is it useful? It reminds me of the one about the tree falling in the forest. If nobody was there when it happened, did it make a sound? (Or, as a friend likes to quip: If my spouse yells at me and I don’t hear it, am I still wrong? 😉
Success in DevOps requires blending the work of development and operations into a single focus. Those in the chain that actually delivers and supports new services and features — the ops teams — must be involved in every step of the planning process. That very specifically includes any and all meetings with the engineering teams that are developing the services and features.
This way of working, as integrated teams, leads to a generous cadence of iteration, release, learn, iterate, and so on. This results in an actionable knowledge process that can be applied quickly, to respond quickly to market changes, by focusing on what’s important. Only when development and operations teams work together on the entire service lifecycle — design, development, production, deployment, and support — can we take advantage of the knowledge to obtain and sustain competiveness.
The needle on the service velocity meter needs to move from years to months, and months to days, and from days to hours. Happily, cloud-powered tools provide this ability. But that’s just one side of the coin. The overall development process must also change, so as to best leverage the abilities the cloud brings to bear. Otherwise, time will assuredly be lost in getting to market.
That’s why I’m so stoked to write about our “Infinite Solutions” suite of cloud video software entertainment solutions, which was developed with a DevOps philosophy at its core. We have it on hand at this week’s IBC highlighting our one cloud, any access network, any screen anywhere strategy.
By adopting this methodology, and applying it to the Infinite product suite, we’re in a better position to provide what it is our customers want — and what their customers want — when they want it. Come by and check it out at the Cisco stand, 1.A71 in Hall 1 at the RAI!
Tweet us with your pictures, questions or comments at @CiscoSPVideo.