Intent-based networking (IBN) architecture is actually an addition to an already existing networking architecture instead of being a separate architecture of its own. Intent-based technology is the automation of deploying business intent across a network through policies. It’s a continuous cycle of three primary functions: translating intent, automating the configuration of the intent across physical and virtual networking devices, and monitoring. Network architects define the intent in plain language via a graphical interface. The software handles the IBN cycle for the network administrator.
The Open Network User Group (ONUG )describes IBN as a different perspective of what a network is and how it can operate. It’s “moving beyond viewing the network as routing, switching, wireless to Campus, WAN, Data Center and Cloud; instead it’s a broader strategy to revamp the entire network portfolio.”
Below are the key considerations when implementing IBN architecture:
Intent-Based Networking Architecture Considerations
- Analyze each networking project and define if intent-based networking can be added to those projects before implementing IBN into the network architecture.
- Understand that there is no need to invest in new technology as IBN can be added to already existing software-defined networking (SDN) technology. Attach orchestration policy-based automation, either to single domains or multiple domains, to successfully implement IBN into the networking architecture.
- Ensure robust and thorough monitoring and assurance are in place.
- Understand that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are involved in the translating, configuring, and monitoring process. The technologies enable IBN “to analyze data, extract information from data and learn from it automatically, without being explicitly programmed.”
- The Enterprise Strategy Group advises that “to really maximize the benefit of intent-based networking, IT needs to implement comprehensive, end-to-end architectures across all domains, such as DC, campus, branch extended enterprise, cloud etc.”
- The network architecture should have security already in place, but it needs to also encompass the IBN components. Verify that the security protocol in place will safeguard the IBN component.
- Review the application programming interfaces (APIs) in the network architecture to determine if they will work with IBN.