Intent-Based Networking is an idea that was formulated years ago. But it was a concept ahead of its time.
Now, with the advancement of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Networks, Intent-based networking has become a reality and has its benefits to various industries.
Intent-based networking has grown to be a popular term in time and has its set of benefits for businesses. In light of the pandemic, recent remote working, and work-from-home scenarios, businesses have shifted their focus on their networks and networking solutions.
A network connects a business to the workflow, clients, end-users, etc. A network constantly needs to adapt to the changes in the environment and that is where Intent-Based Networking plays a role.
This article is here to explain the term Intent-Based Networking and its benefits to businesses.
Understanding Intent-Based Networking and Its Benefits for Businesses
Intent-Based Networking is a class of network administration that has evolved into intelligent networking. It automates network administrative tasks using AI, ML, and network management solutions.
Intent-based networking aims to simplify operations by creating, managing, and applying network policies reducing human efforts. The lack of manual labor benefits intent-based networking to make changes automatically.
In 2017, Gartner published a blog on Intent-Based Networking, calling it the “next big thing”. Gartner’s blog defined intent-based networking as “Intent-based networking is not a product or a market. Instead, it is a piece of networking software that helps to plan, design, and implement/operate networks that can improve network availability and agility. Another way to describe it would be lifecycle management software for networking infrastructure.”
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The components of Intent-based networking provide optimum benefits for the technology. Here are the Core Components of Intent-Based Networking and their functions:
- Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence helps design and execute policies in the network. It works as the brain of a network to streamline processes.
It monitors the network tasks and works towards optimizing the efficiency of the network. It helps businesses save time, effort, and cost.
- Machine Learning: Machine Learning connects the goals and agenda of the business and works toward delivering tasks. Machine Learning works as the muscle and limbs of the network.
It carries out each task assigned and completes them within the allotted time. It improves the quality of performing the tasks.
- Network Orchestration: A network work with various tools, solutions, devices, policies, priorities, and applications. The tools could be of various complexities like centralized, decentralized, single or multi-domain, etc.
It is important to keep track of these tools and guarantee their smooth functioning. Network Orchestration manages the deployment of functions handled by AI and ML.
Network orchestration works as the senses of the network. It focuses on fulfillment and assurance of the components that run the tasks.
Now that we understand the concept of intent-based marketing, its components, and what it does, we need to know how it works?
Intent-based networking model works on the following concepts:
- Intent: It refers to the required outcome or result.
- Translation: It describes the transformation of intent to policies that the network can comprehend and deliver upon.
- Feasibility Check: It keeps an eye on the resources and makes sure they are available to run tasks. It keeps an eye on the simulated infrastructure.
- Activation: It offers the function to install the translated policies throughout the physical and virtual network infrastructure. It requires network-wide automation to carry out this function.
- Policy Authentication and Implementation: It verifies any changes and alterations requested by the network administrator. Once verified, it runs the tasks to adhere to the new and authenticated changes.
- Assurance: It utilizes analytics, assessments, and machine learning aspects to constantly monitor and compare standards. It works towards achieving business outcomes by applying the desired intent.
- Reports: It generates reports and observations on the network tasks, the status of the network, its performance, and any discrepancies that may have occurred. It helps notify the network administrator regularly of any issues that may hamper the tasks and deliveries.
The concept of IBN has been around just as much as SDN. Both technologies are evolutions on their own and also have a few common characteristics.
So how is Intent-Based Networking different from a Software-Defined Networking Solution? They both differ in their fundamental ideas.
SDN creates an IT infrastructure that arranges all the hardware using a central software solution.
IBN aims toward running network tasks automatically.
SDN controls, manage, and operate hardware with the help of software applications.
IBN requires business intent to design and implement policies leveraging AI, ML, and network orchestration.
Benefits of Intent-Based Networking has offered businesses opportunities to grow and expand their horizons. Although the idea of intent-based networking has been around for a couple of years, it has recently been put to practice.
Hence, intent-based networking has its set of pros and cons. Here we will discuss the benefits of intent-based networking and the impact on businesses.
Intent-based networking benefits businesses, regardless of industries by making the process agile and resources available. Gartner states, “(IBN) can reduce network infrastructure delivery times to the business leaders by 50% to 90%, while simultaneously reducing the number and duration of outages by at least 50%.”
One of the major benefits of intent-based networking is the reduction of manual efforts. It automates tasks by converting commands into actions.
It saves efforts by configuring the network to comply with policies and intents whether they are new or older. It helps the network administrator offer their abilities for other tasks.
It makes the network think, verify, configure and comply with the policies using the core components.
Intent-based networking benefits businesses by working with all devices and tools, regardless of their provider. Intent-based networking benefits businesses by eliminating the requirement to have an in-depth knowledge of a vendor or software package and still run functions.
IBN offers enhanced control and performance of a network. It reduces human dependency which in turn reduces any human errors.
It allows the software to define, implement, and deploy tasks to the resources. It monitors the participants regularly and generates reports on their performances.
Intent-based networking offers self-reliance as one of its benefits. It constantly audits, reports, controls, and administers the network and functions.
It enables businesses to keep an eye on the tasks by providing real-time updates and monitoring. This makes IBN a self-reliant and self-driving networking system.
Intent-based networking offers benefits to businesses by securing their network infrastructure. It monitors and detects any discrepancies that may hamper security or the tasks.
Intent-based networking is a modern technology that can provide a plethora of benefits to businesses. In 2019, the market for intent-based networking exceeded $900 million and is expected to grow over a CAGR of 30% in the future.
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