As enterprises move more of their applications, data and operations to the cloud, competitive success becomes increasingly about speed. If the answer to a request to spin up and connect a new virtual cloud or deploy a new application across your hybrid cloud is “no,” or, “It will take us three months,” that’s a problem.
Organizations operating in the cloud need to deploy in days, hours or even minutes, not months. They first sought greater infrastructure efficiencies and speed through ITOps, then DevOps, then DevSecOps and, most recently, CloudOps. Each of these nuances is a slightly better version of the old model, but all still revolve around humans. And the hard truth is that speed and humans don’t always mix.
The painful implications of the impedance mismatch between humans and automation comes into sharp focus, but with a slight twist, when it comes to cloud networking. Now that networking infrastructure, meaning the actual routing of data, is moving out of the data center and into the cloud, it’s time to consider what a NoOps approach to cloud networking might look like.
Bringing Networking Into the Cloud Era
Way back in 2011, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Mike Gualtieri famously wrote a blog post titled, “I Don’t Want DevOps. I Want NoOps.” In it, he said: “NoOps means that application developers will never have to speak with an operations professional again.” In this sense, NoOps is another term for automation.
In the world of public cloud technology, the tension Gualtieri was pointing to—i.e., between dev and ops—lived almost exclusively in the realms of compute and storage. It didn’t apply to networking in the cloud, because networking is different. It’s more heterogeneous and distributed than compute or storage. It’s all about moving data, which has gravity and heft. Especially with big data, moving the data securely is an increasingly strategic priority for enterprises.
Until recently, networking technologies used in public cloud environments have been either very limited-feature tools offered by the cloud provider, or virtualized versions of on-premises data center-era technologies. These virtualized technologies, such as vRouters, are complex (often by design) and difficult to master. They have kept CloudOps and DevOps teams dependent upon highly trained and certified networking experts to make and maintain cloud connections.
This traditional networking paradigm slows things down and kills innovation. But it also puts developers and cloud operations people on the same side of the “I want NoOps” equation. That’s because unlike with cloud computing or cloud storage functions—where developers must wait for ITOps and DevOps teams to establish the computing or storage infrastructure their applications require—cloud networking has shifted the “operations” function to the hands of traditional IT networking experts.
What NoOps Looks Like in Cloud Networking
Recent technology advancements in cloud networking point the way toward a NoOps approach to cloud networking, meaning the automation of processes that now depend on direct control by human networking experts.
One advancement is that the as-a-service revolution is finally reaching cloud networking infrastructure. What began with virtualized networking hardware has more recently progressed to software-defined (SD) cloud routing, enabling distributed, heterogeneous networking infrastructure to traverse public cloud, on-premises, hybrid cloud and multicloud environments.
SD cloud routing centralizes and automates networking functions that previously required hands-on, time-consuming attention by highly certified human experts. As a result, SD cloud routing shifts networking infrastructure control directly to CloudOps and DevOps engineers, who are no longer dependent on networking professionals to establish or maintain their cloud networking infrastructure.
Software-defined cloud routing alters the fundamental dynamics of cloud operations. It makes routing in the cloud point-and-click simple for CloudOps and DevOps experts.
In a real sense, SD cloud routing achieves a NoOps approach to cloud networking—not by eliminating DevOps functions and roles, but by automating cloud networking and making it accessible to those who need to establish and maintain cloud connections. SD cloud routing empowers DevOps and CloudOps professionals to manage the networking connections required to move applications and data within, between, and to and from public cloud environments.