DevOps is a necessary organizational shift.
It desires process automation, more efficient development cycles, and better team communications.
One concept and process that has made DevOps possible is infrastructure as code. Programmable infrastructure has given operations the necessary tools to make continuous delivery possible.
What is Infrastructure as Code?
Infrastructure as code (IaC) is the use of code to control processes and servers. It is for the control of Bare Metal and virtual servers, and IT infrastructure processes. This means hardware configuration through the application of code and software.
Infrastructure as Code and DevOps
DevOps is a cultural shift, where organizations try to bridge the communication and processes gap between development and operations. Through communication and automation, a goal of DevOps is to achieve continuous delivery.
IaC is a fundamental piece to this puzzle. It allows the operations team to operate more efficiently. Automating, traditionally manual processes, and allowing hardware changes with the application of code. It is a key driver for DevOps and continuous delivery.
Tools such as Chef, Ansible, Puppet and Vagrant have made this concept possible. These tools have provided the framework for programmable infrastructure. Controlling infrastructure is different from automation. Automation is a byproduct of programmable infrastructure.
The concept of controlling hardware is not specific to traditional operations processes. It is now applied to networking as well. This is where software defined networking has become an integral part of the IaC process.
Infrastructure as Code and Software Defined Networking
Software defined networking (SDN) is controlling the network with the application of code. Fundamentally, this is IaC. SDN is possible because networking infrastructure no longer need proprietary software.
SDN separates the control plane and the data plane. Control is no longer exclusive to propriety software and hardware integrations. The result is network control through the application of software.
As more networking infrastructure becomes programmable, the more important SDN will be in the DevOps stack. As networking tends to be its own domain, NetDevOps is a necessary shift. This aligns networking processes with the rest of the DevOps team.
A core principle of NetDevOps, which IaC and SDN make possible, is network automation.
Infrastructure as Code and Network Automation
Network automation is the automation of routine or repetitive tasks within networking. The writing of one-off scripts for routers and servers. Network automation is important to bring networking functions into the DevOps team.
As DevOps already operates with a desire for process automation, networking needs to adopt this mindset. To adopt this mindset, networking needs NetDevOps.
There is a fundamental reason why the shift to network automation is important.
As DevOps needs to maintain continuous delivery, there needs to be optimal network uptime. Therefore, DevOps has an inherent interest in network function. To better bridge this gap, networking can work to mirror the DevOps process.
Also, network automation helps to automate repetitive tasks, eliminate fat fingers, and scale and replicate successful processes. This fits with the DevOps mindset.
IaC is a fundamental piece of the DevOps process. The concept extends to SDN and network automation.
To learn more about DevOps and networking, download the DevOps Networking Terms eBook.