First of all… what is DevOps? The technical definition looks something like this: An agile, software-based development architecture in which the operations and development teams are integrated.
Having roots in the web world, DevOps conjures up images of a utopian software community. A place where sparkling coding geniuses cook up magic apps in a matter of weeks, launch them live on the network, debug and add features on the fly, and them make billions of dollars. Meanwhile, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping outside.
The reality is more challenging than the utopian vision, of course, but it’s required. A real DevOps culture — like those that have emerged in large consumer web companies — is now a necessity. The old telecom model, in which services are launched from the top-down through large bureaucratic planning processes and then built by adding complicated, vertical technology systems, doesn’t work any more. It’s way too slow.
In the future, most services will be launched with software. That is the promise of software-defined networking (SDN) and the reason that the entire industry is moving toward it. By creating an underlaying infrastructure of open, commodity-based hardware, it will enable software-based services to be conceived and launch much faster. In short, it will enable DevOps-style management.
Over the last 12 months, service provider executives have been stepping up their rhetoric and actions around DevOps and “culture,” both in public and private conversations. These include concrete business moves, such as CenturyLink‘s move to build a 30,000-square-foot cloud development facility in Seattle, built around a DevOps model.
Leading service providers will tell you that DevOps represents a cultural shift as well as a technological shift. When you look at this closely, it impacts the way entire service provider organizations are structured. It’s not just about technology and the network — it’s about product development, business development, and planning as well.
Phil Jordan, Global CIO of Telefónica, has spoken publicly about this need. He has said that Telefónica needs to be more of a development shop and “an organization that’s about being over the top,” according to this video, “Becoming a platform business and becoming more open to innovation is central to our strategy.”
If you want to look at other examples: Deutsche Telekom CTO Axel Clauberg has talked about how the global carrier has built its own open source development team and is looking to become a “software-defined operator.”
This is a gigantic process for most global service providers, especially the largest, which have tens of thousands of employees and decades of infrastructure built with an older model of services. Moving their business culture toward a DevOps-style utopia is going to be one of the largest undertakings in the industry’s history.
What does this look like and how does this happen? This is an area Scott Raynovich (The Rayno Report) will explore with the team from UBIqube, a Dublin-based provider of orchestration and development software. Tune in for the June 3 Webinar here on SDxCentral.com as we explore the topic: Agile Orchestration by Design: Building a DevOps Culture in Telecom.