Open Source Summit: It's Time for DevOps and Networking to Talk

Tuesday Sep 12th 2017 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Micro-Services require new models and more scale for networking than ever before.

LOS ANGELES — Ed Warnicke, Distinguished Consulting Engineer at Cisco Systems is a well known figure in the networking community and he came to the Open Source Summit here with a message - it's time for DevOps and networking people to talk.

Warnicke delivered a lighting keynote talk titled, Bridging the Divide: Brining Network and DevOps People Together to Build a Unified Cloud Native Future. Warnicke started off his talk by outlining the shift in networking over the last decade from bare metal server needs to virtual machines.

With Virtual Machines, networking vendors built overlay network topologies and approaches that have enabled virtual networking. With an overlay network, Warnicke said that essentially the industry has been pretending that it's still in the bare metal server world.

As micro-services and serverless approaches are now growing in popularity an adoption, new challenges for networking are emerging.

Warnicke said that with micro-services there are more connections than with a virtual machine and there will ultimately be many more networking needs as well. The big risk that he sees is that existing overlay approaches to networking will not scale to meet the challenge of explosive micro-services growth.

"The things that we did for virtual machines don't scale here," he said. "We can't deal with the same games with did with overlays and tie developers into things they don't want to know anything about."

In the networking world there are lot of interesting tools including subnets, IPAM, ACLS, VPNs and load balancer that DevOps people don't really care about in Warnicke's view. What needs to happen is the development of high level abstractions and concepts that appeal and make sense to application developers.

Sometimes those abstractions already exist, but there are different terms used in the DevOps world than in the networking world. Warnicke said that reachability and isolation are common concepts in networking and will remain needed in the micro-services world.

Networking professionals also well understand the concepts of service discovery and routing, which will remain highly relevant in the micro-services world.

Warnicke said that often DevOps and Networking people will talk past each other, since they will have different terms for the same things.

To help start the conversation, Warnicke asked all the networking people in the audience to raise their hands. Then he told all the DevOps people in the audience to talk to them.

"We can't just talk past each other or ignore networking, we have to come to a hand in glove relationship between networking and DevOps," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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