Operationalizing the network continues to be a driving force behind DevOps and SDN. The ability to solve real problems using programmability to automate and orchestrate infrastructure provisioning and configuration across the application release process remains the hope for many interested in one or the other - and often times both.
A recent Avaya sponsored, Dynamic Markets survey (reg required) dove deep into the demesne of SDN and found that many of the problems companies have - and expect to be solved by SDN - are directly related to provisioning, configuration and downtime concerns around services and applications across the network.
We (as in the corporate We) know that no single vendor is going to be able to solve this challenge. Not alone. SDN and operationalizing the network necessarily requires an ecosystem. And not just an ecosystem comprised of strategically aligned vendor partners, but customers, as well. After all, customers are the ones with the problem to be solved, and no one understands how to best solve that problem like they do. Integration and packaging is something vendors can (and should) do to enable customers to do what they need to do to solve their problems with service configuration, network management and application performance. Because customer processes and environments are not turn key; they aren't one-size fits all.
This kind of ecosystem requires an open approach to APIs, integration and sharing of solutions across the entire ecosystem - in every direction.
That's why it was so awesome to see what Target recently offered to the Chef community - an F5 BIG-IP Cookbook. One of the goals of F5 through DevCentral has always been to provide customers with the information they need to take advantage of our APIs and this an excellent example of what that can produce. Because it hasn't been just about giving customers the tools, but also encouraging an open-source attitude toward sharing of solutions built around our programmability. That openness turned into something awesome for not just Target but the open source community at large, and offers a great foundation and framework from within which organizations can solve at least one of their service configuration issues with SDN. And because it's a Chef cookbook, that means there are many other cookbooks that can be used to solve some of the other service configuration challenges organizations have.
That's what an SDN ecosystem comprised of vendors and customers, enabled by an open source attitude, should be doing. Enabling orgs to solve real challenges and resolve real issues by operationalizing the network.
You can find out more about F5 and Chef and how we help operationalize the network this week at Chef Conf (we're hanging at table #T6) or by following F5 on Twitter (@f5networks).
If you're looking for more Chef + F5 goodness, feel free to check out these resources: