This article helps to clarify those dynamics by explaining what each concept does and how they complement each other.
What is NetDevOps?
NetDevOps refers to the convergence of DevOps and networking. It is a practice that encourages communication and collaboration between network architects and operators to automate manual and traditional network processes.
One way NetDevOps achieves automation is via software-defined networking (SDN), which supplies and configures network appliances such as routers and switches. SDN enables businesses to control network behavior through code, allowing users to replicate processes across hardware.
SDN and other automation methodologies facilitate NetDevOps collaboration by enabling multiple people to concurrently work on the same systems, appliances, and applications. In a traditional IT environment, infrastructure configuration, testing, and deployment tasks take place in a sequential fashion, which leaves some team members waiting around for their turn to contribute. In a NetDevOps environment, you can deploy entire configurations to many devices at the same time with SDN, trigger automatic tests to run at certain benchmarks, and automatically integrate necessary software with just a few button clicks. Every member of the NetDevOps team collaborates nearly simultaneously to achieve the same objective.
The goal of NetDevOps is to foster a culture and environment in which network design, tests, and deployment happen quickly and reliably.
NetOps vs. NetDevOps
You may be more familiar with the term NetOps than NetDevOps, though they mean essentially the same thing. The NetOps methodology also applies DevOps principles to enterprise network management, such as collaboration and automation. The word NetOps de-emphasizes the software development (Dev) aspect of IT operations, but NetOps still involves abstracting networking functions as code with SDN and automation. For that reason, NetDevOps is becoming a more popular term for this methodology in modern IT environments.
What are NetDevOps roles in the integration process?
Let’s break down each integration process in NetDevOps and its primary goals.
Breaking down communication silos
The primary goal of NetDevOps is to improve efficiency by fostering team collaboration and communication. More specifically, it allows teams to be more pragmatic and efficient when faced with an issue, including distributing tools throughout the IT infrastructure. Once the enterprise establishes a collaborative architecture, silos are eliminated and teams benefit from more effective communication.
Reducing manual intervention with SDN
Manually revising network infrastructure is time-consuming and prone to human error. To address these inefficiencies and ensure that automation scripts are error-free, SDN employs certain DevOps practices, such as continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD). These scripts can be re-deployed on numerous servers, rolled back, and made available to all teams.
Promoting network automation
The command-line interface (CLI) performs network operations manually, device by device. Network automation can better connect networking with IT operations and tools, allowing for more agile network workflow. It also helps automate the management, testing, and deployment of virtual and physical devices inside a network. With network automation, enterprises benefit from quicker service start, less human error, and more effective wireless management.
What is SecOps?
Security operations (SecOps) is a partnership between security and IT operations teams similar to DevOps’ role as a collaboration between development and operations teams. It helps organizations automate critical security tasks and meet performance goals without compromising on security.
SecOps follows a set of security operations center (SOC) practices, processes, and tools, such as governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) systems and security information and event management (SIEM). Integration of these security measures occurs atypically early in the software development life cycle (SDLC), which is known as “shifting left”.
In a typical SDLC—which includes product design, development, testing, and deployment—security comes at the latter life cycle stages, sometimes after testing. However, SecOps introduces security measures much earlier in the life cycle, providing better safeguards as the product development progresses.
For example, a typical SDLC looks something like this:
- Step 1: Planning – You determine the requirements for the software’s functionality
- Step 2: Design – You model the look and functionality of the software
- Step 3: Development – Your dev team writes the software code
- Step 4: Testing – Your QA team tests the code to ensure it functions correctly
- Step 5: Security – Your security team integrates security monitoring and protection measures
- Step 6: Deployment – You release the software to production
Security is almost an afterthought, occurring right before deployment. Often, this can lead to friction between teams – most business units want to release the software as soon as possible, but security integration may cause delays.
A SecOps SDLC looks more like this:
- Step 1: Planning – While you determine the requirements for the software itself, you also plan the architecture for the secure development and production servers you’ll deploy to support the software.
- Step 2: Design – Development and design teams model the software, and security and ops teams stand up secure development environments.
- Step 3: Development – As developers write software code and upload it to the repository, automatic security checks run to test for vulnerabilities
- Step 4: Testing – On a secure testing server, the QA team runs functional and performance tests while the security team runs additional vulnerability and security integration tests
- Step 5: Deployment – You release the secure software to a secure production environment
Not only does SecOps prioritize security to better fortify your software, but it also streamlines the SDLC, removing an entire step from the process. SecOps empowers you to release secure, high-quality software faster.
How does SecOps complement NetDevOps?
While NetDevOps facilitates work process automation, SecOps provides the security to make those things happen safely, safeguarding NetDevOps practices from cyberattacks.
In other words, SecOps acts as a bodyguard for NetDevOps. Two primary examples are as follows:
Securing critical data center infrastructure
Both SecOps and NetDevOps promote open collaboration between security, networking, and operations teams, especially when it comes to infrastructure management and monitoring.
In traditional IT environments, separate monitoring and management tasks are siloed in different departments, with security, operations, and networking teams all working with different software and solutions on different pieces of your infrastructure. SecOps instead brings all teams together, working within the same monitoring, incident response, and infrastructure management systems. This gives your key SecOps and NetDevOps engineers a holistic view of your environment, allowing them to collaborate and ensure your infrastructure is fully protected.
Securing continuous delivery and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines
SecOps processes ensure that CI/CD pipelines (as discussed earlier) emphasize both security and speed. SecOps teams use CI security techniques to provide a secure codebase and in CD to automate security-related tasks.
For example, one of the cornerstones of the CI/CD methodologies is automated testing (for functionality, performance, and integration) which runs continuously throughout the SDLC. With SecOps processes, you can also add automated security testing at key stages in your CI/CD pipeline. That means security issues can be found and remediated as early as possible, allowing you to release your software faster.
By combining SecOps and CI/CD processes, teams and technology may work together to protect the network and codebase while avoiding bottlenecks. SecOps teams can then leverage automation to minimize application and service outages and expedite security audits.
What is EdgeOps?
EdgeOps is a quasi-DevOps approach adapted to the internet of things (IoT)/edge environment for managing and overseeing the project development lifecycle. It addresses edge computing’s difficulties, considers the features of edge-computing solutions, and utilizes deployment methods adapted to the edge environment.
A single unified dashboard can follow the progress of a project that involves multiple technologies, tools, and experts. Independent work streams or pipelines can simultaneously manage activity from several teams or organizations. EdgeOps can process, analyze, and orchestrate large volumes of machine data and events at microsecond transactions.
How does EdgeOps enhance NetDevOps?
EdgeOps is, at its essence, the application of NetDevOps principles to the edge-to-cloud continuum. Examples are as follows:
Improving data processing
By maximizing the efficiency of their manufacturing equipment, chipmakers can enhance the yield and quality of their semiconductor production processes. EdgeOps helps enterprises boost productivity and efficiency through artificial intelligence across critical areas of the infrastructure.
Promoting cost-efficient and timely data transfers
The EdgeOps platform enables real-time data ingestion, processing, and analysis by operating at the equipment source. It can therefore address data security problems and the increased cost and timing of edge-to-cloud data transport.
Allowing for scalability
Companies no longer need to develop centralized, private data centers to expand data collecting and processing. Building, maintaining, and replacing these hubs during expansion can be cost-prohibitive.
Instead, organizations can quickly and cost-effectively scale their edge network reach by combining privately-owned servers with regional edge computing data centers. EdgeOps flexibility allows companies to adapt swiftly to changing markets and scale their data and revise requirements more efficiently as they grow.
The future impact of NetOps, NetDevOps, SecOps, and EdgeOps
Secure, cloud-based automation and IoT will have increasingly significant global implications moving forward. The collaborative and agile nature of these three Ops will play an essential role in this transformation.
While each provides a different piece to the network integration puzzle, all focus on improving communication and promoting efficiency. Better automated processes, shorter feedback loops, and shared responsibilities are due to their interlace.