DevOps Culture Takes Root in Telecom
December 07, 2015

Tim Pearson
Ciena

As a result of virtualization and the shift to software-defined networking (SDN), a DevOps culture has begun to emerge in the telecom industry that requires network operators to look beyond technology and the network, and embrace a holistic view of product development, business development, operations and planning. Over the past year, service provider executives have not only been discussing this more openly, but also are beginning to take serious steps to support this new mode of operation. Major business decisions, including CenturyLink's move to build a 30,000-square foot cloud development facility in Seattle, underscores this movement.

But, in reality, there is no choice. As cloud providers such as Amazon and Google rapidly innovate new communications services, traditional service providers know change is necessary for survival. A DevOps approach will help them to integrate development and operations to create an interconnected ecosystem that significantly reduces the time required to offer new services versus the traditional model, in which expensive software professional services and large bureaucratic planning processes are required. DevOps will allow operators to quickly adapt their network services to changes in market needs; to improve service quality, and address the diverse and demanding needs of its users.

The era of truly open, software-defined, multi-vendor networks is here. New software has emerged to help service providers automate services – from creation to orchestration to delivery – across both physical and virtual domains. This reduces operational costs, eliminates network complexity and drives greater competitive advantage through a level of service programmability previously unachievable. Below are five technical concepts service providers should consider leveraging that adhere to DevOps principles.

1. Container-based Micro-Services Architecture

Container-based, micro-services architectures allow rapid customization and accelerated development of new applications, including those from third-parties and based on open source components. Vendors can loosely couple software functions within these containers to create and enable SDN management and control, NFV orchestration, and multi-domain service orchestration. The new architecture also enables disaggregation of the software stack, enabling providers to add their own services.

2. Self-Service Programmability

With TOSCA (topology and orchestration specification for cloud applications)-based service templates, providers can equip themselves with DevOps style self-service programmability of resources (physical, virtual, or cross-domain) for creating, deploying, or enhancing services. This reduces professional services fees typically required by OSS or integration vendors.

3. Simple Migration with Legacy Systems

Support for business process model and notation (BPMN) standard can help DevOps teams simplify integration with legacy OSS/BSS systems as well as providers’ ability to create, integrate and operate new services. BPMN reduces network complexity and improves the ability to offer programmable, self-service tools to end-users.

4. Freedom of Choice

Enabling vendor-agnostic domains (e.g. access, metro, core, cloud) to deliver end-to-end service orchestration is key. This enables providers to select and deploy best-of-breed options at each domain without losing operational simplicity and abstraction. It also reduces vendor lock-in and ensures simple, low-cost operations across multi-vendor physical or virtual functions and domains. This allows service provider DevOps teams to be freed from specific constraints so that they can focus on innovation and create service-rich end customer solutions.

5. Openness

For service provider DevOps teams, the ability to support multiple standards and open source code bases (including ONOS, Docker, LINUX, TOSCA, BPMN, Netconf/YANG) is critical to breaking down the software silos that are prevalent in the vendor community. Bringing together SDN, NFV and service orchestration into a unified, open platform enables service providers to leverage these cutting-edge technologies for building virtualized on-demand networks and cloud-based service offerings.

DevOps has transformed the operational models in many industries by bringing together corporate functions to work together to deliver systems faster and with more targeted functionality.  It is important that telecoms operators make a successful transition from a static, individualized approach to innovation they’ve used for decades and embrace the DevOps culture to optimize consumer satisfaction, revenue streams, and cost savings.

Tim Pearson is PLM Director, Applications and APIs at Ciena

The Latest

September 18, 2018

To celebrate IT Professionals Day 2018 (this year on September 18), the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2018: A World Powered by Tech Pros survey explores a "Tech PROactive" world where technology professionals have the time, resources, and ability to use their technology prowess to do absolutely anything ...

September 17, 2018

The role of DevOps in capitalizing on the benefits of hybrid cloud has become increasingly important, with developers and IT operations now working together closer than ever to continuously plan, develop, deliver, integrate, test, and deploy new applications and services in the hybrid cloud ...

September 13, 2018

"Our research provides compelling evidence that smart investments in technology, process, and culture drive profit, quality, and customer outcomes that are important for organizations to stay competitive and relevant -- both today and as we look to the future," said Dr. Nicole Forsgren, co-founder and CEO of DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), referring to the organization's latest report Accelerate: State of DevOps 2018: Strategies for a New Economy ...

September 12, 2018

This next blog examines the security component of step four of the Twelve-Factor methodology — backing services. Here follows some actionable advice from the WhiteHat Security Addendum Checklist, which developers and ops engineers can follow during the SaaS build and operations stages ...

September 10, 2018

When thinking about security automation, a common concern from security teams is that they don't have the coding capabilities needed to create, implement, and maintain it. So, what are teams to do when internal resources are tight and there isn't budget to hire an outside consultant or "unicorn?" ...

September 06, 2018

In evaluating 316 million incidents, it is clear that attacks against the application are growing in volume and sophistication, and as such, continue to be a major threat to business, according to Security Report for Web Applications (Q2 2018) from tCell ...

September 04, 2018

There's a welcome insight in the 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report from DORA, because for the first time it calls out database development as a key technical practice which can drive high performance in DevOps ...

August 29, 2018

While everyone is convinced about the benefits of containers, to really know if you're making progress, you need to measure container performance using KPIs.These KPIs should shed light on how a DevOps team is faring in terms of important parameters like speed, quality, availability, and efficiency. Let's look at the specific KPIs to track for each of these broad categories ...

August 27, 2018

Protego Labs recently discovered that 98 percent of functions in serverless applications are at risk, with 16 percent considered "serious" ...

August 23, 2018

After another record year of breaches, The 2018 DevSecOps Community Survey found that 3 in 10 respondents suspected or verified breaches stemming from vulnerabilities in open source components — a 55% increase over 2017, and 121% increase since 2014 ...

Share this