Software Defined Everything, 5G, Analytics and Closed-Loop Automation for Multi-Vendor Networks with DevOps, what’s needed next?
By Akshay Sharma – Technical Advisor to Kovair and former Senior Analyst, Gartner
The telecom, datacom, and data center solutions are converging with programmable, and configurable applications, networks, data centers all being dynamic, with secure, ultra-low latency services elastically provisioned.
Key Benefits of Using API
Converged 5G, with Mobile Edge Computing will lead to newer Industry 4.0 services, newer RPA: Robotic Process Automation, newer Conversational AI, newer SDV software defined video…newer business models with Cloud Brokering…all impossible with the legacy architectures of the past, with legacy siloes. According to the Linux Foundation, 5G with Mobile Edge Computing will result in a new architecture involving hybrid multi-clouds, as follows:
The problem, however, is typically the networks and software applications were traditionally deployed in isolation. The network was a bit pipe, to the App folks, and the network architects viewed the Cloud folks as just IT…all siloed…
Now with 5G Edge Computing, it’s going to be holistic, NetOps + DevOps with AIOps…holistic app awareness with network awareness, holistic dashboards, holistic Closed Loop Automation, SDx Software Defined Everything…
An example service: Smart City, with AI and Robotic Process Automation, according to the IEEE.
Imagine a City Mayor, during an emergency, conducting a video conference call in UltraHD, with automated transcribing of the session sent in real-time to the attendees, with security, built-in, and have it stored in a CDN with compression for video replay, with AI Bots, taking in requests, live, and actioning upon the Electric Grid, the Communications networks, the transportation networks, all being holistically provisioned for all users in their locations, the firewalls launched as needed along with the requisite applications, the load balancers, the IoT sensor solutions deployed as needed, and the stored content elastically stored for the time needed…and it’s monitored as needed with holistic dashboards, visible to all as needed.
Connecting these dots, will be 5G Edge Clouds with SDx: Software Defined Everything:
- SD-WAN, Software Defined Wide Area Networks,
- SDN: Software Defined Networks with VNFs: virtual network functions like firewalls, load balancers, and SDV: software defined video functions
- Software Defined Radio with programmable antennae
- All deployed in a dynamic manner leveraging “network slicing”.
However, the road(s) to getting there is complex.
- Do we virtualize everything and host it in the edge cloud?
- Do we leverage open source for everything?
- Do we containerize everything and leverage open API’s and connect systems with software
- Do we use DevOps and “test” deployments in the field, or do we “Shift-Left” and leverage classic ALM (applications lifecycle management) test management?
What if the answer is all of the above, and then some… Virtualization for the sake of virtualization is an initial baby step, but hopefully it’s done to improve agility of newer innovative services being deployed, improve customer quality of experience with better analytics actioned upon ideally in automated workflows, and to improve operational costs with more efficient usage of resources. We propose a new paradigm shift with a new Converged DevOps/NetOps Digital solution including newer processes, methods, and tools, with the following benefits:
Benefits of the new Converged DevOps/NetOps Digital Transformation solution:
We soon will have integrated workflow automation for NetOps and DevOps solutions, for dynamic launching of solutions: App middleware, IoT analytics, Rules Escalations, etc., all in real-time, with SDx controls: SDN, NFV, SD-WAN, and future 5G services!
Example: Holistic Workflow Automation: Networks and Applications
Holistic version control of networks and applications:
- Network Configuration Management with DevOps Applications Source Code Management.
- Network Policy Compliance Enforcements with Document Electronic Data Record Compliance, and Workflow/Process Compliance
- Networks Maintenance/Upgrades Management with DevOps Applications for Requirements Management, Test Management, Issues and Change Management.
Holistic telemetry, monitoring and dashboards for networks and applications:
Source: TM Forum
Holistic traceability of all development, test as well as tracing across applications, networks and endpoint devices, ideally with resiliency maintained, Increased productivity by leveraging automation, APIs, s/w bus connectors, and better KPIs/metrics shared across NetOps/DevOps teams Integrated Security and Privacy controls are holistically engineered within the solutions
Source: TM Forum
Vendors like Kovair with it’s Omnibus can integrate any SaaS or Cloud Application. This can support any Hybrid Cloud environment where Cloud as well as on-premise applications/ tools need to be integrated. Omnibus is Cloud compatible – Cloud-to-Cloud, Cloud-to-On-premise and On-premise to On-premise.
Shift Left Testing, applying Applications Lifecycle Management to DevOps
Vendors like Kovair support “Shift-Left” testing applying ALM (applications lifecycle management) of test operations for newer DevOps deployments as well. And now add AIOps, and Automation…
While AIOps is still relatively new, the goals are to help in infrastructure and operations (I&O) with Intelligent Application And Service Monitoring (IASM), ideally with holistic control. This could lead to the following benefits:
Major Benefits of DevOPs with NetOps: Engineering Transformation: Agility, and AIOps!
Implications for Business Leaders
To achieve the agility desired with Software Defined Everything, requires newer holistic thinking with Analytics and Closed-Loop Automation for virtualized networks and applications within newer 5G Edge Computing Clouds. This will require newer processes, methods, and tools, supporting newer workflows, newer analytics, dashboards along with orchestration solutions leading to converged AIOps with NetOps and DevOps.
With the above, engineers will be able to build, app-awareness with network-awareness with a common workflow engine, using a common software bus to platforms supporting agile applications within Multi-clouds. By leveraging a common data lake for analytics for newer AIOps, for Closed Loop Automation, with common Dashboards supporting predictive analytics, newer efficient services like Intent-based Networking can result.