How Intent-based Networking (IBN) is used for Network Management?

How Intent-based Networking (IBN) is used for Network Management? and what is Intent-Based Networking (IBN)? IBN a word known by many but are you in that list?

In today’s quick-changing, resource-intensive, and complex IT environments, network administration is getting more difficult and resource-intensive. Even though software-defined networking automates most network management tasks, skilled network administrators are still required for the majority of tasks. But people are slow, unpredictable, and frequently expensive. Given the growing number of remote working arrangements that restrict network administrators’ physical access to network equipment, the stakes are considerably higher. Several of these issues are resolved by intent-based networking, which supports quick, at-scale administration and increases network autonomy.


In this blog, we will learn how intent-based networking works, how it differs from software-defined networking (SDN), and its benefits in detail.

How Intent-based Networking (IBN) is used for Network Management?

Before going into that let’s have a little knowledge about intent based networking then you will definitely understand that how intent based networking (IBN) is used for network management.

So let’s start with an introduction about IBN.

What is Intent-based Networking?

Intent-based networking (IBN) is a novel method of network administration that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate and improve network operations. By letting administrators specify the desired network behavior or intent and then letting the network automatically adjust itself to suit that intent, IBN is intended to simplify network management.

Based on the parameters of your stated objectives, the resulting network self-operates, self-corrects, and self-adjusts. Consider “intent” to be the result or business goal you want the network to achieve. The way network managers currently handle networks will completely change with intent-based networking.


What is the Working of Intent-based Networking?

By utilizing a network controller that serves as the main control point for network activities, IBN expands upon software-defined networking (SDN). These controllers are essential for network abstraction, which enables IT to manage the network as a single, cohesive unit. All controller-led networks, including those in the access, WAN, data center, and cloud domains, function together, extend their advantages across the organization, and support the realization of digital transformation.

The following functional building elements are used by the closed-loop IBN system to produce the desired business or IT outcomes for your firm.

  • Translation: Capturing and converting intent into network-actionable policies.

Example: An administrator can specify that “all video traffic should have a high priority on the network,” for instance. To recognize video traffic and automatically adjust the network to give it a high priority, IBN would utilize AI algorithms to evaluate network traffic. In order to improve network behavior and performance, IBN may also monitor network performance and modify network parameters in real time.

  • Activation: These policies are set up across the actual and virtual network architecture using network-wide automation.
  • Assurance: Ongoing network monitoring utilizing analytics and machine learning to verify that the intended intent has been carried out and the intended business results have been achieved.

Furthermore, we will see the purpose of intent-based networking.


What is the purpose of Intent-based Networking?

Intention-based networking companies aim to increase automation and reduce the time spent on network setup and maintenance by leveraging machine learning and cognitive computing. They offer software that translates user intent into the network configuration. Network management defines the intent, and the software uses AI and ML to determine how to achieve it.


In addition to automating time-consuming tasks and providing real-time network insights, intent-based networking solutions verify intents, anticipate deviations, and suggest corrective actions to maintain the intent. With increased intelligence, faults are identified, and the network becomes faster and more flexible. This self-monitoring and self-healing capability are a critical aspect of intent-based networking.


IBN vs SDN: How do they differ from each other?

Although there are some distinctions, software-defined networking, and intent-based networking have certain commonalities.

  • Initially, both network management strategies centralize control over a network’s scattered components. This contrasts with conventional networking, where network administrators handle each device independently through its own management console using a command-line interface.
  • Second, both strategies abstract the management from distributed network devices, bringing them into line with the desired operational model for the firm. Both intent-based networking and software-defined networking can understand the network design and interactions between various network devices in this regard.


Despite their similarities, here’s a breakdown of the differences between IBN and SDN:

Point of Difference IBN SDN
Definition & Scope A networking paradigm known as “Intent-Based Networking” (IBN) places a strong emphasis on using high-level business goals and policies to guide network configuration and maintenance. A networking architecture known as software-defined networking (SDN) separates the network control plane from the data plane.
Architecture IBN architecture is based on three key components: Intent, Translation, and Activation. SDN architecture is based on a controller, which acts as the brain of the network.
Key Concepts and Approaches IBN uses machine learning, analytics, and other technologies to analyze network data and draw insights about network behavior to automate network setup and administration operations. To translate business objectives into adjustments to the network setup, it employs intent-based automation. In SDN, decisions concerning the network’s management and the movement of traffic are made by a central controller. Separating the control plane from the data plane gives network setup and management more flexibility and agility.
Technologies used IBN analyses network data and generates insights on network activity using machine learning, analytics, and other technologies. SDN might be one of the technologies it uses. SDN manages the network and decides how traffic is routed over the network using a central controller, open APIs, and defined protocols.
Scope of Automation IBN places a strong emphasis on intent-based automation of network setup and administration, enabling quicker and more precise network modifications that are in line with corporate goals. With the use of a centralized controller, SDN focuses on automating network configuration and maintenance, allowing for quicker and more flexible network modifications.


What are some Benefits of IBN (Intent-based Networking)?

Intent-Based Networking (IBN) is a modern networking approach that focuses on automating network operations and management by defining high-level business intent in the form of policies. Here are some benefits of IBN:

Improved Network Availability: Network availability has considerably increased because of IBN, which enables networks to dynamically adapt to shifting business requirements. IBN can decrease network outages and prioritize key applications, which can save downtime and boost overall network reliability.


Improved Network Security: By automating the application of security policies, identifying, and isolating security threats, and delivering real-time threat intelligence, IBN can contribute to a greater level of network security. This makes it easier for businesses to proactively defend against online threats and guarantee regulatory adherence.

Network Management Simplified: IBN streamlines network management by offering a single interface for controlling all network services and devices. It does away with manual configuration and lessens the chance of configuration mistakes. As a result, network managers are free to concentrate on more important responsibilities like network design and optimization.


IBN uses analytics and machine learning to deliver real-time network awareness and insights, which speed up network troubleshooting. This shortens the time and resources required to remedy problems by assisting network administrators in swiftly identifying and troubleshooting network faults.


Increased Network Agility: By automatically provisioning network resources in real-time, IBN enables network administrators to quickly adjust to shifting business requirements. This enables businesses to react swiftly to shifting business requirements and deploy new applications and services.


In general, IBN can assist enterprises in enhancing network security, streamlining network management, accelerating network troubleshooting, and increasing network agility.


What are the key Characteristics of IBN?

Here are some of the key characteristics of IBN:


Intent-driven: IBN is intent-driven, which means that it focuses on defining high-level business intent in the form of policies. This allows network administrators to define the desired outcome and let the network automatically configure itself to achieve that outcome.


Automated: IBN automates network configuration, management, and operations. This eliminates the need for manual configuration, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving overall network reliability.


Proactive: IBN is proactive, which means that it can identify potential issues and automatically take corrective actions before they become major problems. This helps to improve network availability and reduce downtime.


Analytics-driven: IBN uses analytics and machine learning to provide real-time network visibility and insights. This helps network administrators to quickly identify and troubleshoot network issues, and optimize network performance.


Secure: IBN is designed with security in mind and provides automated security policy enforcement, threat detection, and real-time threat intelligence. This helps organizations to proactively defend against cyber threats and ensure compliance with industry regulations.


Agile: IBN enables network administrators to quickly adapt to changing business requirements by automatically provisioning network resources in real time. This helps organizations to quickly deploy new applications and services, and respond to changing business needs.


What are the Drawbacks of IBN?

While IBN offers many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Here are some of the key drawbacks of IBN:

Complexity: IBN is a sophisticated technology that calls for a high level of knowledge to manage and execute. Understanding and implementing the automation and policy-based approach can be difficult for some firms.


Cost: Implementing IBN can be expensive, especially for smaller firms with fewer resources. For some businesses, the price of acquiring and implementing the required technology and software may be prohibitive.


Restricted compatibility: Not all network hardware and technologies will be compatible with IBN. To fully profit from IBN, firms may need to invest in new hardware and software, which may increase the cost and complexity.


Dependence on reliable data: To function efficiently, IBN depends on accurate and current data. Moreover, the network may not operate as intended if the underlying data is unreliable, out-of-date, or incomplete, which could cause performance problems and downtime.


Potential for Errors: IBN has the potential to make mistakes, just like any automated system. Errors or incorrect setups are always a possibility, especially in the early stages of implementation.



Final Thoughts

Intent-Based Networking (IBN) offers significant benefits for network management, including increased efficiency, reduced errors, improved security, and better overall network performance. As such, it is likely to become an increasingly popular approach to network management in the coming years. Even though IBN has many advantages, businesses must carefully assess any potential negatives and make sure they have the knowledge, assets, and infrastructure required to support this technology.

Q. What problems does intent-based networking solve?

Intent-based networking solves several problems that traditional network management approaches have struggled with. Some of the key problems that IBN addresses include:
Complexity: IBN simplifies network management by abstracting away the details of individual devices and configurations and providing a high-level view of the network.
Manual configuration: IBN automates many of the difficult manual tasks, reducing the need for manual configuration and freeing up network administrators’ time.
Limited Visibility: IBN provides a centralized view of the network, allowing network administrators to quickly identify and resolve issues.

Q. How AI and IBN are related to each other?

AI and IBN are closely related to each other. IBN uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning (ML) techniques to automate network management tasks and improve network performance and security.

Q. What are the top two reasons for using IBN?

Intent-based networking may be adopted by businesses for several reasons, but the top two are as follows:
1.    Improved Efficiency: By automating many of the network management operations, including device configuration, policy enforcement, and issue identification and resolution, IBN can greatly increase network efficiency. As a result, network administrators may have more time and energy to devote to duties that are more strategically important.
2.    A centralized view of the network and real-time monitoring and analysis of network data using AI and ML techniques are two ways that IBN may help networks operate better and be more secure. This can speed up the identification and resolution of problems, forecast network performance, and proactively identify and address security concerns.

Q. What are the core components of IBN?

The core components of Intent-based networking (IBN) typically include:
Intent Engine: The Intent Engine is the heart of IBN, which uses AI and ML techniques to translate high-level business intent into specific network configurations. It takes the intent defined by the network administrator and translates it into policies that can be applied to the network.
Policy Repository: The Policy Repository is a centralized location where network policies are stored. Policies define how the network should operate to align with the intent. The Intent Engine uses these policies to configure the network automatically.
Telemetry: Telemetry involves the collection and analysis of network data in real-time. IBN uses telemetry to monitor the network, detect issues and provide insights. Telemetry data can come from various sources, such as network devices, applications, and users.
Assurance: Monitoring and analyzing network data continues to make sure the network is running in accordance with the administrator-defined policies is referred to as assurance. Identifying problems and, if necessary, taking corrective action are other aspects of assurance.
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces): With APIs, network administrators can automate tasks and interface with other systems by interacting programmatically with IBN systems.

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