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What is intent-based networking?

Intent-based networking (IBN) is an emerging technology concept that aims to apply a deeper level of intelligence and intended state to replace the manual processes of configuring networks and reacting to network issues. Instead, network administrators define an outcome or business objective—the intent—and the network’s software figures out how to achieve that goal, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Intent-based networking (IBN) systems not only automate time-consuming tasks and provide real-time visibility into a network’s activity to validate a given intent, they also predict potential deviations to that intent, and prescribe the action required to ensure that intent. This greater intelligence makes the network faster and more agile, and reduces errors.

Intent-based networking definition

Intent-based networking is a concept delivered through network software that intelligently determines how to perform and automate the tasks required to operate a network. Administrators can send a request to tell the network what outcome they want (their intent) instead of needing to code and execute individual tasks manually. 

How does intent-based networking work?

Intent networking relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to prescribe and perform routine tasks, set policies, respond to system events, and verify that goals and actions have been achieved. For example, it can make servers reachable from specific networks, if that is what’s required to achieve a given intent. The system not only configures network changes but also verifies that they are being performed, and it can make adjustments as necessary. It is also considered an evolution of software-defined networking (SDN) but builds upon it in order to enable a higher level of intelligence that can define what tasks are to be automated.

Related Topics
Cloud Networking
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