Network Management Megatrends 2022
May 02, 2022

Shamus McGillicuddy
EMA

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

May 26, 2022

Site reliability engineers are development-focused IT professionals who work on developing and implementing solutions that solve reliability, availability, and scale problems. On the other hand, DevOps engineers are ops-focused workers who solve development pipeline problems. While there is a divide between the two professions, both sets of engineers cross the gap regularly, delivering their expertise and opinions to the other side and vice versa ...

May 25, 2022

Site reliability engineering (SRE) is fast becoming an essential aspect of modern IT operations, particularly in highly scaled, big data environments. As businesses and industries shift to the digital and embrace new IT infrastructures and technologies to remain operational and competitive, the need for a new approach for IT teams to find and manage the balance between launching new systems and features and ensuring these are intuitive, reliable, and friendly for end users has intensified as well ...

May 24, 2022

The most sophisticated observability practitioners (leaders) are able to cut downtime costs by 90%, from an estimated $23.8 million annually to just $2.5 million, compared to observability beginners, according to the State of Observability 2022 from Splunk in collaboration with the Enterprise Strategy Group. What's more, leaders in observability are more innovative and more successful at achieving digital transformation outcomes and other initiatives ...

May 23, 2022

Programmatically tracked service level indicators (SLIs) are foundational to every site reliability engineering practice. When engineering teams have programmatic SLIs in place, they lessen the need to manually track performance and incident data. They're also able to reduce manual toil because our DevOps teams define the capabilities and metrics that define their SLI data, which they collect automatically — hence "programmatic" ...

May 19, 2022

Recently, a regional healthcare organization wanted to retire its legacy monitoring tools and adopt AIOps. The organization asked Windward Consulting to implement an AIOps strategy that would help streamline its outdated and unwieldy IT system management. Our team's AIOps implementation process helped this client and can help others in the industry too. Here's what my team did ...

May 18, 2022

You've likely heard it before: every business is a digital business. However, some businesses and sectors digitize more quickly than others. Healthcare has traditionally been on the slower side of digital transformation and technology adoption, but that's changing. As healthcare organizations roll out innovations at increasing velocity, they must build a long-term strategy for how they will maintain the uptime of their critical apps and services. And there's only one tool that can ensure this continuous availability in our modern IT ecosystems. AIOps can help IT Operations teams ensure the uptime of critical apps and services ...

May 17, 2022

Between 2012 to 2015 all of the hyperscalers attempted to use the legacy APM solutions to improve their own visibility. To no avail. The problem was that none of the previous generations of APM solutions could match the scaling demand, nor could they provide interoperability due to their proprietary and exclusive agentry ...

May 16, 2022

The DevOps journey begins by understanding a team's DevOps flow and identifying precisely what tasks deliver the best return on engineers' time when automated. The rest of this blog will help DevOps team managers by outlining what jobs can — and should be automated ...

May 12, 2022

A survey from Snow Software polled more than 500 IT leaders to determine the current state of cloud infrastructure. Nearly half of the IT leaders who responded agreed that cloud was critical to operations during the pandemic with the majority deploying a hybrid cloud strategy consisting of both public and private clouds. Unsurprisingly, over the last 12 months, the majority of respondents had increased overall cloud spend — a substantial increase over the 2020 findings ...

May 11, 2022

As we all know, the drastic changes in the world have caused the workforce to take a hybrid approach over the last two years. A lot of that time, being fully remote. With the back and forth between home and office, employees need ways to stay productive and access useful information necessary to complete their daily work. The ability to obtain a holistic view of data relevant to the user and get answers to topics, no matter the worker's location, is crucial for a successful and efficient hybrid working environment ...