Traditionally, we have seen development—and, by extension, DevOps—as having a less-than-cordial relationship with network operations (NetOps). Since the goals of the two groups are sometimes at cross purposes—DevOps wants access to make everything run automated, and NetOps wants to control a production environment so that it is stable—we’ve naturally talked in those terms.
I’m a developer who learned other skills, including operations, along the way. I can manage to get things done on F5 Networks or Cisco Systems gear, but I’ve sat with true experts while they worked their magic and have a lot of respect for the NetOps crowd. So this topic has always been of interest to me.
Now, according to a recent survey conducted by F5 Networks, we can see that the animosity we have all been lead to believe is there really isn’t. There is also a press release here, and surprisingly, it offers more information from the survey than the blog does.
There is a ton of interesting data about rate of automation, views of other teams and deployments in the survey results, making it well worth a read-through.
While DevOps and NetOps remain at odds regarding how much pipeline access should be available via self-service and automation, for the most part both groups view the other as on the right track. Eighty-two percent of DevOps and 76 percent of NetOps agree that each other prioritizes “the right things.” Clearly, there is common ground across the digital divide in at least goals and focus, if not always in the organizational chart.
This, to me, says that DevOps is having the proper impact on the organization. That what’s important is getting prioritized on both sides of the pipeline. Or it says that this was always the case, and DevOps has had little impact. Historical surveys, however, seem to indicate that there was not always this level of belief between the two groups.
Interestingly enough, there has been a lot written about whether your DevOps methodology should be operations- or development-driven, but networking has always been a bit off to the side. Not the type of operations that historically is discussed in DevOps; it sat with teams such as Security and QA working with DevOps but not generally a part of the DevOps teams.
The results here would indicate that network automation is occurring at a healthy clip (makes a guy want to look at vendor APIs again, and see what’s changed to enable this fact), and if the majority of DevOps people are saying the NetOps team is focused on what’s important, likely the integration into DevOps is further along than pundits have portrayed.
Though the results indicate that many DevOps teams want more access and control of network operations than they have, this is likely the natural outgrowth of the different views these teams have always had. Network operations’ goal is rock-solid infrastructure. DevOps’ goal is speedy delivery. These two things can be at odds relatively easily.
I’m hoping that F5 offers us more access to data than a blog and a press release, but honestly what is in those two is enough to get you pondering about the state of NetDevOps (or whatever we’re calling it this week) versus the perception.
Disclaimer: I am a former F5 employee, and have a positive view of the company and its products. My wife is also F5’s Principal Technical Evangelist, and had a hand in this survey. While this doesn’t impact writing about survey results, you’ve been informed.