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DevOps practices are a way for IT organizations to increase the amount of application software they can build, deploy, and manage. The problem, however, is that much of the infrastructure on which they still depend is not programmable.
In fact, while much progress has been made in terms of being able to programmatically spin up virtual machines in seconds, it can still take days and weeks to provision the associated storage and networking resources. Many senior IT leaders are now finally turning their attention to software-defined networking (SDN) technologies that promises to eliminate that bottleneck, said Jay Lyman, an industry analyst with 451 Research.
Much of that focus on networking is being driven by mandates to move application workloads into the cloud to enable developers to become more agile, Lyman said. But it’s only now that senior IT leaders are appreciating the fact that lifting and shifting existing application workloads into the cloud doesn’t make them cloud-native in terms of programmability.
To achieve that goal, senior IT leaders are now taking a deeper look at the role networking plays in a multi-cloud environment and as part of a larger hybrid cloud computing strategy, Lyman said.
Multi-cloud is the reality,” he said. “But hybrid cloud is the dream.”
The trouble is that many of those senior IT leaders have yet to share or even fully appreciate what the rise of multi-cloud computing in the age of DevOps means for network administrators. Unless the network resources themselves are programmable, it’s not going to be possible to dynamically scale up and down application resources running on multiple clouds,” Lyman noted.
Nevertheless, appreciation for the role networking plays with the DevOps process spanning multiple clouds is starting to increase, said Ivan Oprencak, director of product marketing for VMware Cloud on AWS.
Many VMware customers are just starting to either deploy or migrate application workloads to public clouds. One of the core enabling technologies required to achieve that goal is network virtualization in the form of VMware NSX, Oprencak said. In fact, he noted that very few enterprise IT organizations are going all public cloud. The majority will be running application workloads on premises alongside public clouds for the foreseeable future. To create a seamless hybrid cloud environment many of those organizations are deploying NSX on public clouds even though those public cloud already have their own software-defined networks, he explained. “They want everything to be seamless.”
Adoption of DevOps in the enterprise much like network virtualization and SDNs is still relatively nascent. In general, DevOps is still a grassroots movement where individual departments wind up embracing various concepts to the degree they can apply them. Top down DevOps initiatives led by senior IT managers are rare. As such, it’s now only a matter of time before networking administrators are going to be asked to make resources programmatically available. The issue they will need to come to terms with is to what degree they will want to expose application programming interfaces (APIs) to achieve that goal versus providing access to a self-service portal through which developers are able to access a fixed amount of resources.