SDN and DevOps-The Combo that Drives the New Age

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 15, 2017
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DevOps application needs a flexible network for rapid provisioning of required resources and is also a prime factor in securely traversing these applications across departments and facilities. However, primitive networks are challenged by the agility and dynamically changing microservices. This disaggregation of application implicates multiple moving parts. This calls for an automation system embracing capabilities to pretest network resources with DevOps—pivotal in avoiding potential application slowdowns with regards to deployment times. Therefore, software developers should be backed with uninterrupted network resources with speed and zero latency.  Further, they need to foster communication and collaboration between developers, operations teams and infrastructure professionals for an IT development system that is seamless, automated and unified.

This additionally implies that DevOps also requires re-hybridization of IT professionals for enabling teams to communicate and share knowledge and resources, so that they can work with more power and innovative ideas to come up with leading edge technology outcomes.

This is where Software-defined networking (SDN) proves crucial, as it optimizes networks for DevOps and automation. This simplifies the task for organizations engaged in deploying complex and large applications through bestowing abilities to control rapid provisioning of network resources and services including security policies. Apart from offering functional and operational benefits, SDN provides a centralized management of networks that drastically reduces the costs, while minimizing human interventions for improved efficiency. The SDN approach automatically detects changes and variations in the traffic flow to act accordingly. Moreover, they are perfectly capable of managing and simplifying complex switches in addition to providing services that are aligned with various applications while supporting rapid deployment of numerous new applications and microservices.

Furthermore, Unlike SDN, the traditional networks are much more time consuming as devices were configured manually and this was done in tunnels without considering the applications and the operations that related to the intended infrastructure. This was completely changed by SDNs, enabling IT teams to configure and manage multitude of network devices and ports at once applying granular policy for network segments purely depending upon the specific needs of applications and users.

Further, modern IT organizations are switching to converged DevOps teams to speed up application development and decrease on the expenditures which in turn requires rapid provisioning, scalable resources and automated operations to facilitate flexible delivery of IT services. This is practically not possible with traditional networking which cannot scale to meet distributed applications and the complexity associated with it. In this regard, SDNs can provision required network resources to DevOps applications automatically. This is well evident from many of the big players like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook deciding to deploy SDN to the meet their ever growing demands in the DevOps space.

As a favor in return, DevOps can provide the required environment in which SDN can flourish as communication and cross-training between the development team and the network architects, engineers and operators, has given life to processes and products that are changing data, voice, systems and security in today’s world.

Bottom Line

While choosing one over the other is a common nature, this approach is something that does not work well in case of DevOps and SDN, the reason being simple—combining these two produces the best results. As to conclude, SDN's centralized control provides a method of analyzing infrastructure, applications and operations through a single pane of glass, and it lends to the successful goals of DevOps. It is well established that SDN plays a key role in allowing modern networks to keep pace with DevOps and automation demands, making rapid and reliable software delivery a seamless process. The fact remains that SDN cannot reach its full potential without DevOps collaboration and processes, and conversely, DevOps processes will become more refined as SDN environments come to life. Having said this, there is no point in choosing between the two as the perfect toolset and software platform for DevOps, with its unified vision and control over the entire network is SDN.