NetDevOps tools enable the adoption of NetDevOps methodology practices and processes. By treating the network infrastructure as code, NetDevOps helps streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall reliability and scalability of networks.
Let’s find out what NetDevOps is, as well as discuss the best software solutions and platforms to use for implementing this modern approach to software development.
What Is NetDevOps?
NetDevOps is simply the DevOps techniques and culture applied to the network domain. This has been slowly gaining momentum in recent years.
We sometimes also find the name DevNetOps.
NetDevOps share all the basic principles of the culture automation measurement sharing (CAMS) model.
- Culture—DevOps is a culture, and all the tools in the world will not make a network engineer a NetDevOps without embracing this new way of working.
- Automation—All processes must be automated as much as possible: tests, deployment, configuration, etc.
- Measurement—Infrastructure monitoring is a key point for continuous improvement.
- Sharing—It’s essential to share knowledge, best practices, and responsibilities first within the network team, but also more broadly with the entire production.
The goal is to increase the efficiency and reliability of network and security infrastructure changes.
DevOps and automation have now become standard on the system and applications. We deploy virtual machines for users or applications in a few minutes.
No one wants to be blocked because they have to wait for the intervention of the network team for a load balancer configuration or the opening of a firewall flow that will take days.
Best NetDevOps Tools
NetDevOps is not a technology; it’s a culture, a concept, and a philosophy.
However, the implementation of NetDevOps also requires the use of specific tools.
There’s a wide variety of solutions and software dedicated to different NetDevOps practices, but some stand out as references in their fields.
CI/CD development translates the test phase, which challenges the code. Rather than development teams delivering their source code to operations in a single block and at a single time, the code is tested as it’s written or modified.
Integration and deployment tools reduce the time needed to create new functions. The code, functional since verified, will serve as a basis for the operational staff.
Jenkins is an open-source automation server that plays a crucial role in continuous integration and deployment. Written in Java, Jenkins automates the entire build cycle of software applications, simplifying the process of building, testing, and deploying across different platforms.
Its extensive plugin ecosystem offers a plethora of options, with over a thousand plugins available for integration.
Jenkins supports multiple programming languages and operating systems, providing developers with a flexible and powerful tool for automating their DevOps workflows. Its pipeline feature enables developers to automatically commit code changes and run test cases, facilitating efficient reporting and feedback loops.
Bamboo is Atlassian’s CI/CD server solution that has many features similar to Jenkins. Both are popular DevOps tools that let you automate your delivery pipeline from build to deployment.
However, while Jenkins is open source, Bamboo is not. Bamboo has a lot of pre-built functionality that you would need to configure manually in Jenkins.
This is also the reason why Bamboo has fewer plugins (about 100 compared to Jenkins’ 1000+). In fact, you don’t need as many plugins with Bamboo, as it already has a lot of features out of the box.
Bamboo integrates seamlessly with other Atlassian products such as Jira and Bitbucket. You also have access to integrated Git and Mercurial workflows and test environments.
All in all, Bamboo can save you a lot of setup time. It also comes with a more intuitive user interface with tooltips, autocomplete, and other useful features.
Version management involves tracking and managing changes to software code. The goal is to keep track of every change made to the code in a database so that you can easily restore an old version in case of an error.
Version control systems allow teams to manage changes to source code over time. These tools allow teams to reduce development time and increase the success rate of deployments.
Git is arguably the most essential NetDevOps tool for enabling easy collaboration across shared repositories. Its distributed nature makes it ideal for large-scale applications, enabling concurrent development and seamless merging of changes.
With Git, developers can work on different branches, submit changes for review, and easily revert to previous versions if necessary. The ability to track every commit and revert changes with clear commit messages ensures a robust and reliable development process.
Hashicorp Vault is one of the open-source tools to securely manage your secrets in the production environment.
It’s a versatile encryption-as-a-service solution that provides robust data protection and enhanced visibility for sensitive information in the cloud. It simplifies the process of encrypting and securely deleting data.
One of the key strengths of HashiCorp Vault is its adaptability, which makes it the leading data protection tool.
Wireshark is a network analyzer used to capture and analyze packets in real-time network connection.
In addition to capturing packets, Wireshark provides powerful packet-filtering capabilities. Users can apply filters to the captured data, allowing them to isolate specific packets or extract the information they need. This filtering feature helps users focus on relevant data and reduces the noise in large packet captures.
Wireshark also excels in packet visualization, enabling users to delve deep into individual packets. With its intuitive interface, users can explore the contents of packets, examine protocols, dissect network conversations, and gain valuable insights into network behavior.
This visualization capability allows users to understand how different components of the network interact and identify any potential issues or abnormalities.
Monitoring makes it possible to analyze and learn lessons from the deployment of architectures and development. Its goal is to find and extract areas for improvement.
Grafana is an open-source analytics and visualization web application widely used for monitoring Prometheus and Graphite metrics, logs, and other data sources. It offers a rich set of charts, graphs, and web alerts, empowering organizations to derive meaningful insights from their monitoring data.
With support for a plugin system, Grafana can be extended to integrate with various data sources, enabling users to create customized and interactive dashboards.
Grafana’s intuitive query builders make it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise, making data visualization and analysis more accessible and impactful.
Nagios is an open-source continuous monitoring system that allows organizations to identify and resolve infrastructure issues proactively. It offers comprehensive monitoring capabilities, enabling the monitoring of networks, systems, and other critical parameters.
Nagios empowers administrators to analyze server performance, address performance issues, and plan infrastructure upgrades effectively.
With Nagios, it’s possible to monitor an entire data center from a single server, ensuring optimal system performance and minimizing downtime.
By detecting and addressing issues before they escalate, Nagios helps organizations maintain the reliability and availability of their systems.
Network automation tools automate tasks such as configuring, provisioning, monitoring, auditing, and troubleshooting networks. Thus, they streamline the whole networking process, enhance the operational efficiency, and minimize manual effort.
Chef is an open-source configuration management and network automation tool that enables organizations to convert their infrastructure into code. It excels in managing data, cookbooks, attributes, environments, and roles, allowing for easy integration with various cloud platforms.
Chef’s imperative language offers a high level of customization, granting developers the freedom to program every node function. This flexibility makes Chef an attractive choice for organizations seeking fine-grained control over their infrastructure.
By embracing Chef, organizations can achieve faster software delivery, improved scalability, and greater operational efficiency.
Ansible is a popular network automation configuration management tool based on a master-slave architecture. It excels in making code changes to existing projects and setting up newly deployed machines, allowing for automated updates and setup processes.
What sets Ansible apart is its agentless design and YAML syntax, which reduces infrastructure costs and simplifies scaling.
Ansible only requires SSH access to execute commands on the managed servers, eliminating the need for installing agents on each server.
This simplicity and efficiency make Ansible a go-to tool for automating CI/CD pipelines.
NetBox is an open-source solution for modeling and documenting networks. It combines IP address management (IPAM) and datacenter infrastructure management (DCIM) with powerful APIs and extensions, making it an ideal “source of truth” to power network automation. With its comprehensive set of features, NetBox empowers organizations to streamline device provisioning, automate testing, integrate operations, and enhance productivity.
One of the standout features of NetBox is its auditing and reporting tools, which relieve users from mundane operational tasks and allow them to concentrate on more critical aspects such as production.
By providing a centralized platform for managing network information, NetBox serves as a reliable “single source of truth” for client networks, ensuring accuracy and consistency.
Unlike other automation tools, NetBox’s primary focus lies in a network’s “intended” or designed state, rather than its observed or monitored states. By adhering to this principle, NetBox ensures that network gear, such as routers or switches, is provisioned and managed based on the intended configuration, minimizing deviations and optimizing network performance.
Conclusion: NetDevOps Tools
As businesses embrace digital transformation, NetDevOps emerges as a crucial methodology that drives innovation and efficiency in network operations.
Using the right NetDevOps tools, organizations can unleash the full potential of their networks and gain a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
To gain a more in-depth understanding of NetDevOps and how it can help you and your organization, read our insightful ebook “Unlocking NetDevOps with NetBox”.
This post was written by Talha Khalid. Talha is a full-stack developer and data scientist who loves to make the cold and hard topics exciting and easy to understand.