CENGN’s “At the Water Cooler” seeks to explore the human-side of #cdntech as it continues to grow and prosper. Each month, we interview our extremely talented engineers to learn more about what they do at CENGN, and their personal experiences in Canada’s telecom industry. This month our software engineers discuss the CENGN platform and highlight the key components of DevOps and its role in CENGN’s innovative work culture.

How is the CENGN platform bringing something new to the market?

What we’re doing gives us a vehicle to see where Software-Defined Networking, SDN, fits into the Canadian tech market – how will it benefit projects made with Network Functions Virtualization, NFV, components? From the SDN tech perspective, the platform is a vehicle to reveal the technologies, the problems and the possibilities. The possibilities are where the innovation comes in.

How do SDN and NFV come together in the CENGN platform?

SDN combines software and hardware. People with backgrounds in deployment operation and testing as well as automation-type software need to understand more of what networks do, what they are and what they need to be – and vice-versa. Pretty soon networks are all going to be software defined and network engineers will find themselves pushing buttons to deploy automation rather than typing at a keyboard. Everything becomes expressed as software, including their networking computers. It’s a marriage between the technologies they both represent, which will be driven by what we call DevOps.

What is DevOps, and how does it bring these things together?

DevOps is a wrapper of workflow, culture, and a way to operate data centre deployments through software. Traditionally operations and software are two completely different entities: operations are very concerned with hardware systems, networking and the data centre. The data centre provides hosting services to the webpages and application(s) you want to log into. The software is what will be developed and deployed in this data centre. Where it’s deployed is an operational environment. When you log into an application, what you’re seeing is the software and the operations that run it. The quality of the software depends on DevOps methodology.

What do you consider DevOps’ greatest strength? 

DevOps isn’t a technology, it’s a workflow structure that integrates development and operations allowing for products to be tested and launched in iterations. It’s a safe culture without blame. If something goes wrong, anybody can say “I know all about that, it was me,” and they don’t fear being let go. You benefit by being able to solve problems quickly while learning from those with the most experience. Otherwise it’s a time-consuming and expensive road, where nobody fesses up and everyone wastes their time troubleshooting it. It allows people to feel connected and important. It motivates people to come to work and be in a place where they are safe and can happily get their work done.