Networking is on the brink of a paradigm shift with the introduction of Intent-Based Networking (IBN). This technology promises to deliver more agile networks with fewer issues across heterogeneous devices, which in turn offers benefits of reduced opex, continuously optimised performance, better compliance and better user experience. IBN can do this because it drives the network configuration algorithmically so it can respond faster and scale larger than a human operator.
IBN is an automated tool that helps network engineers plan, design and operate networks to improve agility and availability. It allows the administrator to move away from configuring their desired outcomes in esoteric device-specific command lines, and instead use a natural language or graphical interface to express their intent.
For example, they may want to prevent members of the engineering group from accessing sales data, or they may want to ensure there are always two separate paths between servers. Recent advances in formal verification techniques and modelling languages such as YANG have enabled IBN to become a practical solution to answer the question, “Is my network configured correctly?”
The key to IBN is the continuous cycle of verification and remediation that constantly checks the configuration meets the intent and makes corrections in real-time.
IBN consists of a number of components, each of which delivers benefits:
Ultimately technology is required to deliver IBN and examples of technology that is intended to make networking easy, reduce cost and improve security include Secure Enterprise SDN and Software-Defined WAN’s (SD-WAN).
Arguably, the largest benefit of the IBN solution comes from the formal verification of the network configuration by the Network Verification component. This verifies that the network configuration meets the intent and ensures there are no security breaches or policy violations (e.g. no single points of failure).
Article by Allied Telesis contributor