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Intent-Based Networking is taking off. Is it time to get on board?

Intent-Based Networking is taking off. Is it time to get on board?

Intent-based Networking (IBN) is 2017’s most talked about networking trend—the question is, what is it and how will it impact your organization?

There has been a lot of hype around intent-based networking this year. The term isn’t new but Cisco blew dust off the topic at Cisco Live, the networking giant’s yearly gathering of IT professionals.

Since then, there’s been a good deal of confusion surrounding IBN and how it differs from SDN (Software Defined Networking). Adding to the confusion, vendors have begun to rebrand existing solutions as “intent-based”, making it hard to differentiate between marketing hype and reality.

“Software defined networking or SDN is a series of network objects (switches, routers, firewalls) all deployed in a highly-automated manner. Intent-based networking leverages the capabilities of SDN but marries it to intelligence.”-Will Townsend, Moor Insights & Strategy senior analyst

So, just what is intent-based networking and how will it impact your business?

Today, network engineers are expected to manage an ever-increasing number of connected devices, and as this number continues to grow, complexity and risk grow alongside it. As a result of digital transformation, companies managing their networks through traditional methods are struggling to keep pace with their agile competitors, and are veering dangerously close to the edge of complete disruption.

Cisco’s newest networking solution, dubbed the Network Intuitive, focuses on providing businesses with the tools to deploy a network that can scale from thousands to millions of connected devices, and can constantly learn, adapt and automate critical operations to keep businesses secure in the face of today’s evolving threat landscape. This intuitive network will be critical for organizations that wish to move forward in the digital business environment. 

“We knew the network was critical to the future, but with the explosion of devices, the emergence of cloud, and the rise of mobility, we had to question if the current approaches for building and managing networks were sufficient in this emerging world.”-David Goeckeler, Cisco

The primary purpose behind running an intuitive network is to transcend the management of individual devices and move into a central, globally managed policy, controlled from one location that runs through the network. The technology uses machine-learning and advanced automation to manage networks and represents a major transition in the enterprise. It has taken years to arrive at the point where machine-learning algorithms are advanced enough to make intent-based networking a reality, but that time has arrived.

Cisco’s revolutionary intuitive network, built around Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA), will enable the scale, complexity and security that is necessary in a world where billions of devices are connected to the Internet.

Cisco’s Network Intuitive is comprised of three essential parts:

  • Encrypted traffic analysis: a recent innovation from Cisco that allows businesses to leverage the network to uncover threats in encrypted traffic.
  • DNA Center: Cisco DNA Center is a centralized network management application that simplifies processes so IT can move quickly, and uses automation to reduce cost, assurance and analytics to enhance network performance, and security to eliminate risk.
  • Catalyst 9000: an advanced series of switches from Cisco, purpose-built for full fabric control with Cisco DNA Center, which delivers industry-best performance and powers Cisco’s new, intuitive network.

Intent-based networking represents a new approach to building enterprise networks, and Cisco’s Network Intuitive provides businesses with tools that allow them to stop wasting time and money operating their networks, and gives them the agility they need to survive in the digital world.

“Intent-based networking is nascent, but could be the next big thing in networking, as it promises to improve network availability and agility, which are key as organizations transition to digital business.”-Andrew Lerner, Gartner

We agree with Chuck Robbins labeling of the Network Intuitive as Cisco’s most significant achievement in the last ten years. Intent-based networking is a new approach to building networks, and represents a tipping point in the realm of enterprise technology. In a world where more devices connect to the network every hour, and cyber-threats loom large, this innovation in enterprise networking is nothing short of transformational.

If you’d like to learn more about intent-based networking and how Lighthouse could help to implement this innovative technology within your business, get in touch or leave a comment below.

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