Network Management Megatrends 2022
May 02, 2022

Shamus McGillicuddy

Share this

Network operations teams are trying to establish partnerships with DevOps teams, but the process isn't easy.

The DevOps team tends to focus on the deployment and quality of applications while the network operations team focuses on network monitoring and management. While the two groups have different priorities, they see opportunities to help each other.

In its recently published Network Management Megatrends 2022 research report, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that 93% of companies with a DevOps group have aligned or plan to align it closely with their network operations group. In fact, 38% expect these two groups to merge into a single unit. Another 55% expect them to establish formalized partnerships with deep collaboration.

"Our network monitoring team has team members who attend all DevOps meetings," said an IT operations manager for one of the world's largest government agencies. "It's going okay. The network monitoring team is always hammering the DevOps team, telling them they need to set up more monitoring. It goes over to varying degrees of success. DevOps always says, ‘We have customers to deal with. This can wait.' It's not at the top of their list."

Collaboration Opportunities for NetOps and DevOps

EMA's Megatrends report, based on a survey of 409 IT professionals, found three important areas of collaboration for network and DevOps groups.

1. Security policy design/implementation (51%). Network operations professionals have often told EMA that they find DevOps and CloudOps professionals to be less sophisticated with security policies. This leads to vulnerabilities and compliance violations that undermine application rollouts. A strong partnership allows the network operations team to bring its security expertise to the table and set up DevOps for success.

2. Application optimization/fail-fast iteration (42%). DevOps teams often optimize applications through a fail-fast approach, which encourages rapid iterations of application deployments where failure is expected and used as an opportunity to improve overall application design. This process requires good observability capabilities. It can also have significant impact on the network. One network engineer once told me that his DevOps team rolled out an application that was initially so inefficient in how it maintained a cache of directory information that it brought down the network every morning. He had to use packet analysis to get to the root of the problem. On the bright side, his discovery of the problem helped the DevOps team to optimize the application.

3. Network capacity planning (41%). Network operations teams need to know how the network will be used in the future to optimize network capacity. They usually do this by analyzing trends in their network monitoring tools. However, a closer relationship with DevOps could provide them more insight into how a company's application portfolio is going to evolve over time.

EMA's research found secondary interest in collaboration around application planning and design (36%) and operational monitoring (36%). Members of DevOps teams in EMA's survey were especially interested in monitoring collaboration, suggesting that the network monitoring toolset can improve overall observability for the DevOps team.

Roadblocks to Partnerships

Nothing is ever easy. And building network operations and DevOps partnerships is no exception. The Megatrends research identify five key challenges to bringing these two groups together.

1. Cross-team skills gaps (41%). These groups work with different technologies and use different tools to manage those technologies. In many cases, they is very little overlap in specialized skills. As a network security architect with a large bank told me: "They only come together when it's a proven need, and it's out of necessity due to there not being a ton of cross-training. The traditional network guys don't know a lot about the cloud."

2. Lack of tool integration (37%). Tool integrations are essential to breaking down silos. By sharing data and reports across tools, DevOps and network operations can start to understand each other's worlds and make decisions together.

3. Budget limitations (34%). Money makes the world go around. It takes money to train people, integrate tools, and devote time to building out processes for collaboration.

4. Lack of best practices and policies (33%). Many IT organizations rely on industry standard best practices to establish policies, procedures, and tooling. Such best practices are slow to establish standards in new territory, such as collaboration between these two groups. It's unknown territory for many industry experts.

5. Divided technology leadership (33%). This last issue is a tricky one. Basically, a third of research respondents told us that the DevOps team does not report up to a traditional CIO's office like network operations does. It is difficult to steer a ship with two captains. Collaboration between these silos will require collaboration at the executive level, too.

Build These Partnerships Today

Some naysayers may be unconvinced about the value of this collaboration. EMA research disagrees. In our analysis of survey data, we found that successful network operations teams are the most likely to completely erase silos between DevOps and network operations. Unsuccessful teams tend to keep more daylight between these groups. EMA believes that deep partnerships between these groups is a potential best practice moving forward.

Shamus McGillicuddy is VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

October 05, 2022

IT operations is a metrics-driven function and teams should keep score as a core practice. Services and sub-services break, alerts of varying quality come in, incidents are created, and services get fixed. Analytics can help IT teams improve these operations ...

October 04, 2022

Big Data makes it possible to bring data from all the monitoring and reporting tools together, both for more effective analysis and a simplified single-pane view for the user. IT teams gain a holistic picture of system performance. Doing this makes sense because the system's components interact, and issues in one area affect another ...

October 03, 2022

IT engineers and executives are responsible for system reliability and availability. The volume of data can make it hard to be proactive and fix issues quickly. With over a decade of experience in the field, I know the importance of IT operations analytics and how it can help identify incidents and enable agile responses ...

September 30, 2022

For businesses with vast and distributed computing infrastructures, one of the main objectives of IT and network operations is to locate the cause of a service condition that is having an impact. The more human resources are put into the task of gathering, processing, and finally visual monitoring the massive volumes of event and log data that serve as the main source of symptomatic indications for emerging crises, the closer the service is to the company's source of revenue ...

September 29, 2022

Our digital economy is intolerant of downtime. But consumers haven't just come to expect always-on digital apps and services. They also expect continuous innovation, new functionality and lightening fast response times. Organizations have taken note, investing heavily in teams and tools that supposedly increase uptime and free resources for innovation. But leaders have not realized this "throw money at the problem" approach to monitoring is burning through resources without much improvement in availability outcomes ...

September 28, 2022

Although 83% of businesses are concerned about a recession in 2023, B2B tech marketers can look forward to growth — 51% of organizations plan to increase IT budgets in 2023 vs. a narrow 6% that plan to reduce their spend, according to the 2023 State of IT report from Spiceworks Ziff Davis ...

September 27, 2022

Users have high expectations around applications — quick loading times, look and feel visually advanced, with feature-rich content, video streaming, and multimedia capabilities — all of these devour network bandwidth. With millions of users accessing applications and mobile apps from multiple devices, most companies today generate seemingly unmanageable volumes of data and traffic on their networks ...

September 26, 2022

In Italy, it is customary to treat wine as part of the meal ... Too often, testing is treated with the same reverence as the post-meal task of loading the dishwasher, when it should be treated like an elegant wine pairing ...

September 23, 2022

In order to properly sort through all monitoring noise and identify true problems, their causes, and to prioritize them for response by the IT team, they have created and built a revolutionary new system using a meta-cognitive model ...

September 22, 2022

As we shift further into a digital-first world, where having a reliable online experience becomes more essential, Site Reliability Engineers remain in-demand among organizations of all sizes ... This diverse set of skills and values can be difficult to interview for. In this blog, we'll get you started with some example questions and processes to find your ideal SRE ...