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What do DevOps and NetOps have in common?

Nothing, you might think: The former deals mainly in software development, the latter in overseeing hardware.

Lots, counters Jeremy Schulman, the founder of a software startup called Schprokits. It apparently doesn’t have a product yet, but Schulman wants to bring the automation tools used in DevOps to the network. With software-defined networks around the corner, it’s a possible vision.

“It is not DevOps versus NetOps,” he’s quoted in Network Computing. “It is just ops in the end game, as converged IT automation. We need both of them to behave and operate in a similar cultural way to achieve the requirements of businesses.”

The former director of automation concept engineering at Juniper Network, Schulman expanded on his idea in a blog on the company’s Web site last week : “I believe that networking professionals and operations teams (“NetOps”) need better automation tools, and they do need to learn to use programming languages and methodologies as a power tool to improve their productivity.”

“Converged IT automation is a key and competitive business driver,” he continued. “Server and cloud is agile and automated; the DevOps movement has supercharged their productivity. The network is the bottleneck crippling IT. SDN came on the networking scene years ago to much fanfare and industry activity. Now as the industry continues to rotate around “science future” technologies and ideas, NetOps still suffer in the drudgery of manually operating today’s complex networks. Put simply, NetOps needs automation solutions for today’s networks and today’s professionals.”

What will Schprokits do about? Hint: Schulman says NetOps people ought to learn Python for writing scripts within the framework his company will apparently release to manage the emerging network platforms with programmatic APIs in SDN controllers, open source projects like OpenDaylight and cloud computing service providers. 

A bit of stealth marketing going on? Yes. But he’s right that in the not to distant future network changes will mean NetOps people will have to have some programming skills. Will Schprokits have the right automation framework? Wait and see.

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