Networks: the 4 characteristics of IBN, Intent-Based Networking

Intent-based network automation helps simplify the tasks and processes of network scaling and security, according to Gartner, and better supports IT teams. This is a new technology that could be imposed by 2020.

In search of new ways to secure their networks, companies are turning to Intent-Based Networking (IBN). The objective of this technology is to provide a dynamic approach to network security, as new equipment is added to the IT infrastructure.

Using IBN helps simplify the process of modifying or upgrading the network, verifying that the result matches the intent behind the action. Routine tasks can thus be automated to match business objectives. In particular, tickets are reduced, replaced by more proactive notifications.

Gartner describes NBI as “Network software that helps plan, design, and implement/operate networks to improve their availability and agility.” Another way to describe it would be lifecycle management software for network infrastructure.

The 4 characteristics of IBN
According to Gartner analysts, the NBI includes 4 characteristics:

Translation and validation
IBN takes a top-level corporate policy (what) as input from end users and translates it into the necessary network configuration (how). The system then generates and validates the resulting design and configuration.

Automated implementation
IBN can configure the appropriate network modifications (how) through the existing network infrastructure. This is usually done through automation and/or network orchestration.

Knowledge of network status
IBN supports real-time network status for systems under its control, independent of protocol and transport.

Insurance and Dynamic Optimization / Correction
IBN continuously verifies in real time that the original system objective is achieved and can take corrective action (blocking traffic, modifying network capacity, or notifying) when the desired intent is not met.

Potentially, the implementation of the still little-known IBN could change how networks are operated, then WAN devices, and so on, until it supports a significant portion of networks. Will it replace SDN (Software-Defined Networking) networks?

SDN relies on virtualization to create a centralized network architecture and administer it by abstraction. Also according to Gartner, through automation, IBN helps organizations plan, design and implement their networks, while SDN is an architecture for networks. IBN therefore manages a network that can be SDN-based or not.

IBN will change the way networks are operated, automate practices that are still manual, and support the explosion of the IoT. This new technology should take hold from 2020