SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Speaking at the Fall Defense and Industry Forum, Navy information technology, or IT, leaders outlined the planned implementation of DevOps, a set of processes from the commercial IT sector that represents an agile relationship between development and IT operations.
The event, hosted by the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association, took place Oct. 24 and 25.
This concept of operations aims to improve delivery speed and quality of Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES), the Navy's next generation tactical afloat network, to the fleet. DevOps brings together people, technology and processes that streamline the end-to-end flow from code development to capability delivery.
DevOps will improve rapid response to fleet needs, whether responding to a system modification or addressing the latest cyber threat.
"DevOps will touch many aspects of how we design and support the fleet and also provide CANES with significant enhancements in cybersecurity due to feedback to development from continuous automated security testing," said Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus, program manager for the Navy's Tactical Networks Program Office. "With DevOps, security is no longer integrated as a separate, final step, but addressed on a continual basis starting from the initial phase of development through deployment."
This shift to a DevOps mentality requires a significant cultural change and the use of automation to shrink a new IT capability's delivery time. The DevOps team will leverage this automation and a constant feedback loop to improve communication and collaboration while providing smaller, more frequent IT baseline releases. The resulting product will be user-focused, delivered faster, more reliably and higher quality.
DevOps allows automated security testing such as vulnerability scans and Security Technical Implementation Guide benchmarks to occur early on and simultaneously with other functional testing. Shorter cycle times, faster testing times and automation leads to better, more secure code and quicker response to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Before DevOps, the development and deployment operations generally moved at a pace geared toward sequential waterfall processes. With Agile software development techniques, development can be planned, coded and deployed as quickly as software developers' complete features and testers evaluate their fitness. Infrastructure changes required by new features can be anticipated and documented. Using the DevOps process, features are built with the feedback of users and operators and systems scale with less cost and effort.
Thinking of software as a "set of services" helps the organization culturally shift from producing a product to delivering capabilities.
"Modern software is never done; it is constantly transforming and embracing new cultural and technology innovations. Therefore the environment to support DevOps should follow the same philosophy; it has to be adaptive to support a continuous life cycle where change is the only constant," said Emily Nguyen, CANES DevOps architect and assistant program manager.
One of the greatest benefits of transitioning to a DevOps environment is the ability to provide the applications and systems hosted on CANES early access to network services, interfaces and configurations. As CANES engineers develop new features, application developers will be able to continuously design and develop in synchronization with the latest version of CANES. Additionally, the application developers will be able to easily and quickly test new versions of their applications against all fielded versions of CANES in the DevOps environment.
"Implementing DevOps is a key part of the Navy's strategy to ensure we deliver the required capability that is affordable, integrated and interoperable," said Rear Adm. Carl Chebi, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence.
Dynamic access to all versions of CANES at any given time will allow the hosted application providers the agility to either reduce or eliminate the requirement for participation in pre-Systems Integration and Testing (SIT) structured testing and reduce time spent in formal SITs. Elimination of time in a formal SIT will depend on the availability of tools to virtualize all CANES hardware components such as switches and routers.
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