Automation is the key to modernization
The scale at which networks need to be built is astronomical — with the growing demand for AI, ML, Cloud, and other considerations, automation is not just convenience, but survival.
Because of the way work has changed, predictable workloads no longer exist, so the way data centers are currently managed is unreliable. We live in a world where the use of devices is inconsistent and cloud services are on-demand, so manual data center management and the myriad of security and unreliable networking issues that accompany it are no longer a viable solution. Intent-based networking (IBN) is something that is meant to solve these problems.
Layer on top of this change the challenges faced by internal IT teams company wide — they are responsible for more than just managing the network and data centers and CIOs are facing the pressure of these competing priorities. Anything that nurture’s the IT team’s talent and improves agility and efficiency should be at the top of every CIOs list.
How can intent-based networking help?
Improving operational efficiencies is always a top priority, and utilizing automated processes helps organizations reduce complexities by removing unnecessary risk, errors, and increase uptime. IBN allows you to improve scalability by reducing manual processes that typically forced engineers to deal with excessive action sequences that only increased the possibility of human error.
This automation reduces tedious activities typically performed by engineers, and gives them more capacity to focus on the big picture since admins can make these adjustments to the intent-based system via a graphical user interface (GUI) or through application programming interfaces (APIs).
Juniper defines the following as the top ways intent-based networking improves operations:
- Validates intent objects before applying them to the network. Intent objects are high-level representations of the desired properties or outcomes to be achieved with the network. Validation is syntactic and includes semantic checks against networkwide policy.
- Instantaneous roll-back or roll-forward. Operators simply apply the appropriate versioned intent object to return to a known good state if something goes wrong during a deployment push.
- Limits the impact and scope of failures during new intent rollout through well-defined policy.
- Intent-based fallback. As the system knows the desired outcomes for a specific configuration, it can maintain those outcomes even in the face of outages or device errors by reconfiguring other network elements or using different mechanisms to achieve the same results.
Using intent-based networking does not necessarily mean other options, like software-defined networking, are off the table. This automation process simply reduces complexity of manual device configuration, but it can still offer SDN capabilities. For example, an IBN solution would focus on provisioning and management while still offering SDN capabilities. They aren’t competing against one another, but rather expanding the automation solutions available to you.
Technologies like Juniper Apstra are by definition intent-based networking softwares — focused on shortening resolution time with advanced telemetry and minimizing human error. Trusted companies like Juniper are versed in ensuring their softwares are not only network compliant, but contain well-tested features that maintain consistency, improve reliability, and boost speed.
Apstra in particular allows organizations to automate and manage their networks with a multitude of perks:
- Works across any data center location, vendor, or topology
- Validated templates
- Zero-touch provisioning
- Predictive analysis
- Continuous validation
- Proactive anomaly alerts
- Customization capabilities with Apstra’s Freeform
The Apstra IBN software is one great step into a future of a more automated networking structure.