Networks today are grappling with an array of different devices; exponential traffic growth; greater disaggregation due to the cloud, containers, and microservices; and a requirement that applications, devices, and network resources are always available and secure. That’s a whole lot to handle and it’s why many network operators are exploring and adopting analytics, automation, network orchestration, and virtualization.
When used properly, these tools and technologies can allow for better resource usage and efficiency; better customer experiences, loyalty, and upsell potential; and reduced time to market and expedited time to revenue.
They can also help network operators on their journey toward adaptive and intent-based networks. Such advanced networks will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically identify trends, and spot performance and security issues, and address all of the above based on business policy and ongoing learnings.
ACG Research earlier this year forecast that 75 percent of network providers expect significant or full network automation within five years. “When asked what superhero they want their future network to be associated with, respondents’ top three answers were: The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Black Widow,” said ACG, which Ciena commissioned to do the report. “When asked why, the top responses included strength, speed, and intelligence.”
In a 2017 blog, Gartner’s (News - Alert) Andrew Lerner wrote “Intent-based networking is not a product, or a market. Instead, it is a piece of networking software that helps to plan, design and implement/operate networks that can improve network availability and agility. Another way to describe it would be lifecycle management software for networking infrastructure.”
He said the four key ingredients of intent-based networking include translation and validation, automated implementation, awareness of network state, and assurance and dynamic optimization and remediation.
To the last point, Lerner explained: “The system continuously validates (in real time) that the original business intent of the system is being met, and can take corrective actions (such as blocking traffic, modifying network capacity or notifying) when desired intent is not met.” (That’s the adaptive part.)
Edited by Erik Linask