Welcome!

Release Management Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of pati...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
"Operations is sort of the maturation of cloud utilization and the move to the cloud," explained Steve Anderson, Product Manager for BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.