Welcome!

CRM Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Ian Khan, PR.com Newswire, Steve Mordue

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Intent-Based Networking: How Close Are We (and Should You Prepare)? | @CloudExpo #ML #SDN #Cloud

Intent-based networking will be the technology that allows network administrators to take advantage of SDN across delivery chain

Intent-Based Networking: How Close Are We (and Should You Prepare)?

Over the last several months, intent-based networking (IBNS) has gained momentum as a newly viable technology that aims to further automate traditional network management. Although IBNS has existed for a few years now as a general concept, it was more buzz than reality until Cisco® launched its first IBNS software package earlier this year.

What is intent-based networking?
Traditionally, network administrators manually translate business policies into network device configurations, a time-intensive and error-prone activity that contributes to rising OpEx. But as digital transformation initiatives continue to reshape the way organizations approach their business and IT strategy, it's becoming more difficult to stay on top of policy and configuration changes by hand.

Enter intent-based networking, which has the potential to significantly transform how we think about enterprise network management. Fundamentally, intent-based networking allows network administrators to define a desired state of the network - what they want it to do - and have that network dynamically monitor for and respond to changing network conditions with automated network orchestration.

IBNS includes all the key tenets of software-defined networking with the addition of observability, autonomous execution access, control policy, and a critical layer of machine-learning capabilities that allow automatic decision-making based on the analysis of observed network behavior. This helps to ensure the security and performance of services along those network paths, and helps bring SDN to the enterprise level.

For example, if a portion of an organization's network is down, an intent-based network could process the change and re-route network traffic accordingly. Alternatively, IBNS platforms can help evaluate the safety of connected devices, whether IoT or BYOD-driven, by monitoring their behavior over time to ultimately decide whether it should be allowed to remain on the network.

This type of dynamic, automated response reduces human involvement, streamlines overall network management, and removes the daily drudgery of routine network changes. It's especially useful for helping to ensure optimal performance for services that compete for resources. Network administrators can think critically about which services should be prioritized and program IBNS platforms to optimize service delivery based on the best benefit for the business.

Where are we now, and should you prepare?
The concept of intent-based networking is certainly not new, but until recently there haven't been too many platforms available to enable it. While IBNS technology is designed to remain hardware-agnostic, Cisco - a vendor with significant clout - is arguably the current leader in the space. The company recently announced a new IBNS-tailored platform that will help drive industry standards around this technology.

Ultimately, IBNS builds upon the foundation of software-defined networking, robust automation, and orchestration policies, so you can consider these elements your gateway to IBNS (which likely won't be considered mainstream for several years). If you're already looking for SDN solutions, you're probably also already part of a progressive, dev-focused organization with resources dedicated to experimenting with new technology. This organization may even want to test IBNS sooner rather than later. That said, if a company cannot dedicate teams to focus on learning and understanding its intricacies and how to make it work reliably, SDN will not be a good fit. Implementing IBNS will add another layer of complexity that shouldn't be overlooked.

In the meantime, as with any new technology, intent-based networking will require a commitment to re-education and certification. Cisco Live! offers plenty of opportunities to familiarize yourself not only with the technology, but also gives you the opportunity to hear attendees' expert opinions on the future of its adoption and implementation. All of this can help you better prepare for the fundamental shift in network management that IBNS promises to deliver.

Working with IBNS: Best Practices
Integrating IBNS may not be in your network's immediate future, but there are still elements of its management requirements that you should be aware of and prepared for:

  • Monitoring as a discipline. One of the best, but perhaps most underestimated ways to maintain an effective network is to implement a comprehensive monitoring strategy. It is no different with IBNS. As with any new technology, some devices will be compatible and some won't. But ultimately, you need to implement a level of network monitoring that forces a deeper understanding of the entire delivery chain. With respect to IBNS, a broken service delivery chain can't be controlled end-to-end, which invalidates your intent-based strategy.

In terms of data collection and observability, machine learning is only as effective as the breadth of its observability of the network. Often, security-related activities are happening beyond the network's edge that should ideally be driving significant actions on the data center side. Imagine a potential hacker probing the very edge of your organization's security strategy. Those breach attempts indicate how the threat will move horizontally within the firewall, but if the service delivery chain is interrupted, these actions can be overlooked. The new VMware® AppDefense is an example of a tailored version of intent-based technology that can address these concerns.

  • Think differently. At a high level, implementing and operating IBNS necessitates a transformative approach to how you think about and work with your systems and networks. As a technology underpinned by machine learning, rather than simply programming configuration code, you need to approach programming as educating your systems to learn fundamental human patterns and better understand anomalies. This is particularly important for your security posture. Rather than thinking about the 2,342 policies that need to be configured to secure your network, think of the bigger picture. What are the primary business concerns and risks? How does that map to technology risks? What system compromises or customer data leaks would hurt your business enough to influence the type of security policy you develop? Keep this new paradigm in the back of your mind as you continue to develop your programming skills.
  • Prepare to code. Beyond working with intelligent systems, in general, as networks become increasingly automated, the ability to program and script code has become a necessary skill. IBNS technology will demand no less. If you don't learn to code, you risk being out of a job. If you cannot write code, you won't be able to write a security policy that works with intent-based services. Hands-on training through vendor initiatives like Cisco DevNet, which grows in popularity each year, learning Python® 101 or teaching yourself policy creation in Cisco's DNA platform will go a long way toward being prepared to introduce IBNS to your organization's network.

Final Thoughts
Intent-based networking, and the tools needed to correctly implement it, will be the technology that allows network administrators to take advantage of SDN across the delivery chain. Until now, it's been a limited span of control (or limited human resources) that requires a manual approach to managing policy. Because SDN is fundamentally moving the industry in the right direction, but remains generally too difficult to efficiently leverage manually, intent-based may finally make SDN a mainstream technology by going that last, extra mile.

More Stories By Patrick Hubbard

Patrick Hubbard is a head geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds, with 20 years of technical expertise and IT customer perspective. His networking management experience includes work with campus, data center, high availability and disaster recovery, and storage networks, and with VoIP, telepresence and VDI in both Fortune 500 companies and startups in the high tech, transportation, financial services and telecom industries.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...