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Monday, October 09, 2017

Is ‘intent-based networking’ the next big thing? | IDG Connect

Photo: Kathryn Cave
Kathryn Cave, Editor at IDG Connect notes, "Last week’s NetEvents press and analyst summit in Silicon Valley included a big focus on intent-based networking – but is it really the next big thing?"
Photo: IDG Connect

The first thing that pops up when you type ‘intent-based networking’ into Google is a sponsored advert from Veriflow – labelling it ‘The Next Big Thing’ - but is this true? And if so, what might it mean for your business?

At last week’s NetEvents press and analyst summit in Silicon Valley the potential future of intent-based networking systems (IBNS) was discussed at length. This included insight from wide range of experts and vendors in the space – I’ve attempted to summarise (and simplify) the important points below.

What is intent-based networking?
Rajesh Ghai, research director of Telecom Network Infrastructure at IDC says IBNS boils down to “networking automation”. Or as Gartner put it in a report back in February: “In essence, IBNS provides networking middleware to replace intelligence that was previously only available from networking engineers/architects.”

How does it work in practice?
It is software that sits on top of the infrastructure and ultimately gives each application its own network (so the applications and network merge). This could have big implications for securing the Internet of Things.

Where are we at with this? 
Garter describes it as “nascent” but potentially the next big thing “as it promises to improve network availability and agility, which are key as organisations transition to digital business”.

Jeff Baher, a senior director at Dell EMC adds that this is not necessarily new, it is evolutionary best practice and is a symptom of all the things large scale networks can’t do with people alone.

Why might be the time right now? 
The technology finally appears to have lined up to make this approach viable. This comes down to three main factors. Firstly, the availability of programmable switches via APIs – to better manage the network. Secondly, the rise of streaming telemetry – to continuously monitor the data from a range of devices. And thirdly the benefits of machine learning – to process the data and discern patterns. The upshot of all this is it is now easier to automate networks at scale.
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Source: IDG Connect