Implementing Intent-Based Networking – Best Practices and Strategies

Intent-based networking is a software-enabled automation process that translates high-level business goals into network configurations. Its purpose is to improve operational efficiencies.

IBN slashes time spent troubleshooting issues by identifying devices and applications that may be causing problems. It also automatically validates and automates configurations. It does so by using machine learning and cognitive computing.

Intent-based networking

Intent-based networking (IBN) is a networking approach that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate and optimize network operations. It aims to simplify network management by allowing users to express their intent for the network rather than having to configure individual devices and protocols.

The characteristics of intent based networking translate high-level intent statements into specific configuration commands for network devices. IBN automates the enforcement of network policies, ensuring that the network adheres to the desired intent. IBN continuously monitors the network state and collects telemetry data to provide real-time visibility into network behavior. IBN dynamically adjusts network configurations and policies to optimize network performance and resource utilization. IBN operates in a closed-loop fashion, continuously monitoring the network, evaluating the effectiveness of policies, and making adjustments as needed.

Automate Network Operations

With intent-based networking, network administrators no longer need to spend time configuring the network to comply with policies or business needs. The network thinks, verifies that a configuration will work, and sends options to the administrator for authorization. It saves time and reduces human errors.

Intent-based networking has three core components: policy translation, automation, and assurance. The first part, policy translation, takes a high-level policy and translates it into the network’s configuration. This is accomplished by combining algorithms and device abstractions that transcend the individual instruments in a network.

The second part, automation, enables the network to take action to achieve desired results. This is accomplished through self-learning and machine learning, which allows the network to identify patterns in behavior and automate changes without human intervention.

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The third component, assurance, monitors the network to verify that it complies with policy and meets business objectives. This is achieved through monitoring, analytics, and network telemetry. When performance degrades, the system can re-route traffic over less congested links or notify a team member.

Automate Policy Enforcement

Network automation and orchestration are key components of IBN. Intent-based networking systems have software that automatically enforces policies to achieve desired results without any manual interaction from network administrators. This is accomplished by combining machine learning (ML), cognitive computing, and deep analytics.

Once the desired business outcome is determined, the intent is translated into policy based on specific device and user requirements. ML algorithms then determine how the network can best meet those requirements. The guidelines are then converted to network infrastructure configurations and deployed to the entire web using network automation.

A fully automated intent-based network slashes errors and risks and improves operational efficiencies in several ways. For instance, ML and other technologies perform predictive network behavior analysis and alert admins to issues. It helps administrators quickly identify root causes for potential connectivity and security issues that would otherwise be difficult to isolate and remediate manually. Also, an intent-based network continuously performs self-checks to ensure it meets the original business case. These features limit the impact and scope of failures during new intent rollouts and reduce human-induced incidents.

Automate Routing

Using an automated system that translates intent into network configurations and continually verifies the results achieved by runtime actions, a company with an IBN approach will be more effective at ensuring its network stays aligned with business objectives. Networks that drift from their desired state can be costly for the enterprise and cause user performance issues.

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IBN systems ingest information from network infrastructure devices, including Layer 3 routers, SD-WAN appliances such as Viptela, and WAN optimization controllers to keep track of applications across multiple links. This is a critical part of the process. It provides data that helps slash network operation errors and enable fast root-cause identification when something goes wrong, resulting in speedier remediation and a more aligned network with its original business intent.

Ultimately, this is one of the key benefits of an IBN network: it eliminates the need for network administrators to perform health checks manually. It means you can spend less time managing your network and more on deploying applications and services that align with your business objectives.

Automate Security

Intent-based networking takes network automation a step further than software-defined networking (SDN) by allowing a business to capture its desired results and automate how the network should be configured to achieve them. It includes the automatic configuration, management, testing, deployment & operations of physical & virtual devices on the web.

It allows network administrators to focus on more important things, like enhancing their IT infrastructure by deploying new applications that drive business value. It also eliminates time-consuming manual tasks, reduces misconfigurations and network downtime, and makes the network self-reliant and more resilient to problems that would otherwise be difficult to troubleshoot with traditional methods.

With the help of intent translation functions, a high-level business goal can be translated into specific rules that the system can implement and automatically execute, just as you might use a sound preset on your favorite audio device. This functionality separates IBN from SDN, which only focuses on how devices should operate rather than what needs to be accomplished by them. The system will then rework the network’s policies, configurations, and traffic-shaping methods to achieve that goal.

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