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The DevOps Culture In Telecom: Integrating Development and Operations

By: Tim Young

The rise and growing prominence of the DevOps culture in recent years has been hard to miss. This collaborative union of development, operations, and quality assurance professionals in order to develop and deliver products and services quickly has gone from theoretical to ubiquitous in relatively short order.

It’s an approach that’s not without its detractors. Objections range from “it’s a mish-mash of ill-defined buzzwords” to “it doesn’t scale” to “it’s only worth doing in a handful of industries.”

On the other hand, at least one recent report reminds us that DevOps is still pretty new. Analytics firm Logz.io released the findings of its DevOps Pulse 2017 survey a few days ago, and the results show that half of the 700 tech companies surveyed either haven’t fully implemented DevOps or only did so in the last year. Furthermore, of those companies that had implemented DevOps, 42 percent said implementation took more than a year.

So this whole thing’s about time-to-market, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a matter of overall approach — a culture change.

And we know full well that it isn’t for everyone. More to our point, there’s been a great deal of discussion about whether DevOps culture is useful, or even possible, for CSPs.

And that’s a relevant question, because they’re certainly trying. AT&T’s shift to DevOps made a great deal of news two years ago, and T-Mobile made DevOps and the rapid speed it facilitates a part of its “Un-Carrier” philosophy around that same time. Verizon, likewise, has made DevOps a part of its approach, with an eye on speed and flexibility.


“At the end of the day it's about enabling business agility by improving time to value,” said Ross Clanton, director of global technology services at Verizon. “Getting from business ideas to prioritizing, designing, building and delivering those ideas so they add value to customers as quickly as possible is really what it's all about.”

One of the knocks against DevOps practices in the context of CSPs is the massive complexity of communications networks and technology. But Clanton notes that the complex technology ecosystems that CSPs have are all the more reason to introduce DevOps practices.

I had my suspicions that DevOps may be practiced in out-of-the-way corners of CSPs' environments, insulated from the main business lines and network operations, but Clanton insists that the implementation of this culture is far reaching.

“We have over 1,000 teams at Verizon practicing DevOps to some degree,” said Clanton.



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