Why Private Cloud Needs DevOps And SDN

Building a private cloud requires treating the infrastructure as code.

Lori MacVittie

February 18, 2016

3 Min Read
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There’s long been a belief that DevOps and public cloud go hand in hand, like beer and brats. Hey, I’m from Wisconsin, okay? You use your similes, I’ll use mine.

This isn’t wrong, but what we seem to be forgetting is that there is just as much (and possibly more) reason to associate DevOps with private cloud, too. And before you shake your head dismissively because you think private cloud is dead, IDC  expects private cloud will grow at the same rate as public cloud for the next five years. And in its State of the Cloud 2015 report, RighScale noted that of the 92% of enterprises with multi-cloud strategies, 14% use multiple private clouds and 13% use multiple public clouds. So private cloud is not, by any stretch of the imagination, dead. It’s alive and growing, just as much as public cloud.

Which means that DevOps and likely software-defined networking are going to continue to grow, too. That’s because they need each other, like…well, I’ll let you supply the simile this time.

If you consider what it takes to build your own, private cloud, the relationship between it and DevOps and SDN comes clear pretty quickly.

Private cloud is not something you can buy in a box or in a rack. You’ve got to build significant pieces of that cloud because one of the core premises of cloud is an autonomous infrastructure layer. That’s mostly the server, network, and app services necessary to provision the resources required to deploy, scale, and secure an application. Provisioning a cloud server is the beginning of a complex dance that involves making sure IP routing tables and firewall rules are updated, security and availability services required to comply with corporate policies are deployed and configured, and appropriate monitoring and reporting is set up and running.

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All that has to be automated and orchestrated. This isn’t just being able to select an image from a repository and clicking. That’s the end goal -- what folks are working toward. Getting there requires a significant amount of work in architecting and implementing an autonomous foundation.

The glorious part of cloud, from the viewpoint of end users is that all that infrastructure is abstracted into neat API calls and templates that enable provisioning with the click of a button. But someone built that abstraction; someone harnessed APIs and templates and shaped them into an automated, software-defined infrastructure usable by those who aren’t capable or simply not interested in managing the complexity inherent in such an infrastructure.

That’s DevOps and SDN. That’s operationalization of the infrastructure --  abstracting it and treating it “as code” in order to effortlessly provision and scale the services that make up the cloud whether it’s public or private.

That’s why DevOps and SDN are important to private cloud: They enable it, support it, and make it work. Where there’s private cloud, there’s bound to be DevOps and SDN. Beer and brats, right?

Learn more about cloud, DevOps, and SDN at Interop Las Vegas this spring. Don't miss out! Register now for Interop, May 2-6, and receive $200 off.

About the Author(s)

Lori MacVittie

Principal Technical Evangelist, Office of the CTO at F5 Networks

Lori MacVittie is the principal technical evangelist for cloud computing, cloud and application security, and application delivery and is responsible for education and evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. 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. She also serves on the Board of Regents for the DevOps Institute and CloudNOW, and has been named one of the top influential women in DevOps.

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