Winning this award was a significant achievement for Quali. Telco decision makers attending the award diner at the Gemeentemuseumden Haag last week were also paying attention.
As new networking concepts such as SD-WAN and NFV are picking up steam, there is a growing awareness among Service Providers that building a standard approach to the consumption of development and test environment is key to sustainable certification and innovation. That means not only getting fully on board with Automation and DevOps from a process standpoint, but adopting Orchestration solutions that meet the very specific needs of the industry vertical.
Shifting Factors in the Telco industry are opening doors for accelerated innovation
Applying a DevOps approach in the Telco industry is relatively new. Up until recently the development cycle had traditionally followed a multi-month (or year) release pattern quite remote from webscale companies leading the way such as Netflix and Airbnb. Certainly a service provider has to deal with regulatory constraints in terms of uptime and the delivery of services. However the dynamics are changing. Several driving factors are at play:
Business mandate to sustain innovation: This is a matter of survival for telcos. keeping a competitive advantage when the boundaries of delivering network services are no longer solid.
Software Defined as a change agent: no just Software Defined Networking but in general the ability to commoditize the underlying infrastructure and overlay software based intelligence on top.
Automation takes center stage: now that software based technologies are prevalent, continuous updates through automation and orchestration can become reality for the network tester.
Making DevOps Automation a reality for Service Providers: not as simple as it seems
Making DevOps a reality for the network engineer and tester responsible for validation of new SD-WAN and NFV technologies is easier said than done.
To begin with, there is a mismatch expectation on skills: network engineers are not programmers (for the most part) so they need to be exposed to the proper level of resource abstraction for an effective implementation.
In addition, quite often, efforts to apply general compute based automation approach to industry specific challenges, such as NFV on boarding, have been stopped on their tracks. The complexity of software based network environments makes the translation non trivial. Instead of reaping the benefits and agility of software based approach, it merely compounds problems seen with physical based environments with additional challenges tied to virtual workloads . In the best cases, this leads to a successful (and well publicized) small scale pilot on a greenfield project, that never reaches full production at scale and expected ROI.
A Practical Approach to Network Orchestration
Taking a practical approach to network orchestration, Quali's CloudShell combines the power DevOps automation with the flexibility to provide on demand, dynamic environments to meet the inherent needs of service providers.
A network designer can create visual blueprints to model the various network infrastructure scenarios based on the TOSCA standard for certifying NFV/SD-WAN roll out.
These environments, or "cloud sandboxes" can then be deployed from a self service portal to virtual or physical resources and accessed by the tester through a web interface for a simple interactive experience, or through API using modern CI/CD tools such as Jenkins.
Out of the box orchestration takes care of workload deployment, configuration and connectivity setup. Similarly, automated resource reclamation provides control on cost and resource allocations to large teams of users.
Extensibility provides a way to customize the experience based on what is most relevant for the end user and sustain the automation in the long run: when it comes to technology, there only one constant: change.
Quali is the leader in delivering cloud-agnostic Environment as a Service (EaaS) solutions for development and testing, sales demo/POC, training, and cyber range teams. Global 500 OEMs, ISVs, financial services, retailers, and innovators everywhere rely on Quali’s award-winning CloudShell platform to create self-service, on-demand environments that cut cloud costs, optimize infrastructure utilization, and increase productivity.