Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Release Management , @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Just What Does 'Operationalize' Mean Anyway?

We keep saying that, does it mean what you think it means?

Just What Does 'Operationalize' Mean Anyway?

Operationalization (which is really hard to say, go ahead - try it a few times) is a concept that crosses the lines between trends and technologies. Both SDN and DevOps share the notion of "operationalization" as a means to achieve the goal of aligning IT with business priorities, like that of accelerating time to market for all important applications.

But what does it really mean to operationalize the network, or app deployments, or really, anything?

Operationalization is a lot like DevOps in that it's more of an approach to how you deploy and manage operations than it is some concrete, tangible thing. It is a verb, it's something you do that has concrete, measurable impacts on the application environment, aka the data center, and the processes that move an application from development and into the hands of its intended consumers, whether internal or external.

operationalize - meaning

When we say "operationalize the network", what we mean is to apply a systematic approach to automating network tasks and orchestrating operational processes in a way that meets measurable, defined goals that align with business priorities.

Consider the business priority to deliver projects on time. You know, get projects to market before the competition (to meet the business concern of revenue growth) or roll out internal apps faster (to meet the business concern of productivity improvements). The top CIO priorities are intertwined, and IT is in the business of applications as much as it is about technology.

Automate all the network things

Accelerating the time to market (or time to roll out for internal applications) is an imperative that enables IT to meet several business and IT-related goals simultaneously. But to do that, IT has to operationalize all the things - including the network. Operations (whether network or security or application) has to focus on automating tasks and orchestrating processes to achieve the speed, scale, and stability necessary to roll out new or improved apps faster and, in some cases, more frequently. That means taking advantage of programmability (APIs, app templates and even data path) to integrate and automate the provisioning, configuration and elasticity of applications and the services that deliver them.

Does that mean you have to become a coder? Not necessarily. Much of the automation and orchestration of the network is being made available through ecosystems (like those around VMware, Cisco, OpenDaylight and OpenStack) that enable the integration necessary to occur through plug-ins, policies or templates rather requiring network engineers to become developers. No doubt some organizations will choose a more hands-on approach, in which case the answer becomes yes, yes you will have to become familiar with scripting tools and languages and APIs to enable the automation and, ultimately, orchestration required to achieve alignment with business and operational goals.

Measure all the deployment things

Automation and orchestration alone aren't enough, though, to operationalize the network. Measures must be put into place that span the entire application deployment process. Those measures should align with other operations groups and align better with the business, measures that are typically associated with DevOps but are directly relatable to the network, too:

  • Deploy frequency
  • Volume of defects
  • MTTR
  • Number & Frequency of outages
  • Number & Frequency of performance issues
  • Time/cost per release (deployment)

Automation certainly impacts some of these measures, but not all. Process optimization is a critical component of DevOps and operationalization as well that impacts many measures but is people and analysis driven.

Optimize all the process things

Optimization requires understanding the processes that have likely ossified over time and re-evaluating each and every step to improve not just the speed but the efficiency, too (no, they aren't the same, Virginia). Optimization of processes is about measuring and mapping processes to find the bottlenecks and idle time that causes the entire app deployment train to slow to a crawl.

The reality is that orchestrating poor processes just lets you fail faster and more often. So identifying those processes (that include handoffs between silos) causing bottlenecks in the deployment process (or where errors seem to constantly be introduced) is a critical component of successfully operationalizing the network (and other operations, for that matter). Giving the app infrastructure operations group an "easy" button to deploy the appropriate network services isn't going to improve the process if that process is itself broken, after all.

The measures let you ascertain whether changes in the process are going to help or not. Modeling and math can do wonders to help determine where changes must be made to improve the overall results, but both require measurement first - and consistent measurement across groups and the deployment lifecycle.

Share all the app things

All of which requires collaboration. You can automate individual tasks and gain some improvements, yes, but you can't orchestrate a provisioning and configuration process related to a given application or type of application unless you first understand what that application needs. And to do that you've got to talk to the people who develop it and deploy its infrastructure. You have to understand its architecture - is it three-tier? Two-tier? Microservice? Does it present APIs and take advantage of an app proxy or are the integrations and interactions all internal? How is success for this app measured? Productivity improvement? Revenue growth? User adoption?

The answers to these questions are imperative to understanding just what network services need to be deployed, and how. It isn't enough to just give the app an IP address and put it on a VLAN. You've got to deliver value out of the network and that means providing services that will help that application meet its business goals, whatever they might be.

Operationalize. Everything.

Whether you're approaching operationalization of the network from the perspective of implementing a SDN architecture or by applying the principles associated with DevOps you're essentially going to have to embrace and adopt the same basic tenets: automation, sharing and common measurements that result in a cultural change across all of IT's operational groups.

To succeed in an application world you're going to have to operationalize all the things.

And that includes the network.

More in a presentation dedicated to this topic: Operationalize all the Network Things!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...