Intent Based Networks – Aligning Business Goals with Network Results
In today's rapidly evolving digital world, networks connect everything. However, as technological innovations continue to accelerate, with 5G, artificial intelligence, IoT, multi-cloud, big data analytics, and cybersecurity taking center stage, they bring new opportunities and challenges. For an organization to thrive in this new and highly complex technological era, the network must quickly adapt to changing business requirements or 'intent.' There is a compelling need for architecture that has been designed for agility, evolved lifecycle management models, and simpler consumption.
There is a need for networks that:
- Simplify network lifecycle and streamline how businesses acquire, consume, maintain, and update their network technology to keep pace with evolving technological developments and business needs.
- Centralize network control, automate management, and integrate IT workflows
- Are easier to configure, operate, and maintain in the face of growing scale and complexity.
- Are agile, can ensure quick and secure access to and between the increasingly distributed workloads to rapidly respond to an organization’s needs with minimal manual intervention.
- Support an increasingly diverse and fast-evolving set of users, devices, applications, and services.
- Proactively use network monitoring and analytics, aided by AI ML, to pinpoint, report, and resolve issues before they become problems.
- Provide real value to the business by reducing the time and effort required to maintain the network.
- Enable new digital initiatives.
- Provide complete visibility and support to the desired user and application experience.
- Identify discrepancies quickly and recommend fixes.
- Detect and contain threats everywhere, in real time. Use network intelligence for continuous compliance and reduced downtime.
- Adopt a zero-trust model to reduce security breaches and identify and neutralize potential threats.
In short, there is a growing need for Intent Based Networking Systems!
So, what are Intent based networks?
Intent-based networking (IBN) is futuristic networking domain that applies deeper levels of intelligence, analytics, and orchestration to improve network operations and uptime. It bridges the gap between business and information technology by continuously and consistently aligning the network with the business intent. A software-enabled automation process, IBNS converts the desired business objective or outcome - the intent - defined by the network administrator into configurations necessary to achieve it by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. IBN not only automates time-consuming tasks and provides real-time visibility into a network's activity to validate a given intent but also predicts potential deviations from that intent and prescribes the actions required to ensure the intent.
An intent-based networking system (IBNS) is constantly gathering data about itself. It can be analyzed in many ways to provide valuable information and actionable insights about the network. This greater intelligence makes the network more agile and significantly reduces the scope for errors. Moreover, an IBNS also provides ongoing assurance checks between the intended and operational state of the network, using close-loop validation to verify the prescribed configuration's correctness continuously.
Key Technologies/Components Involved in Intent-Based Networking
NWDAF (Network Data Analytics Function), RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller), and SMO (Service Management and Orchestration) are integral components that contribute to the successful implementation and operation of intent-based networking. They provide analytics capabilities, intelligent control of network elements, and centralized service management, respectively, enabling organizations to align their network behavior with business intents and achieve optimized network performance and service delivery.
Here's how each of these components contributes to IBN by providing specific functionalities to enhance network automation and intelligence:
NWDAF (Network Data Analytics Function)
NWDAF is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and processing network data from various sources within the IBN to derive meaningful insights and facilitate intelligent decision-making. It acts as a central analytics engine that gathers data from multiple sources, such as network elements, user devices, and other network functions. It then leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to process real-time network data, such as performance metrics, user traffic patterns, and resource utilization. By analyzing this data, NWDAF can provide valuable inputs to the intent engine in an IBN architecture. It helps understand network behavior, detect anomalies, and identify optimization opportunities. NWDAF's insights enable the intent engine to dynamically adapt network configurations and policies based on the observed network conditions, improving network performance and resource allocation.
RIC (RAN Intelligent Controller)
The RAN Intelligent Controller is a critical component in an IBN's Radio Access Network (RAN). It provides centralized intelligence and control over the RAN elements, enabling dynamic and efficient management of radio resources and services. RIC leverages real-time analytics and machine learning algorithms to monitor and analyze RAN performance metrics, user traffic patterns, and radio conditions. It then translates the intent-based policies into specific actions and configurations at the RAN level. RIC enables dynamic optimization of radio resources, adaptive load balancing, traffic steering, and other RAN-related functions to meet the desired intent objectives. By integrating RIC into an IBN architecture, network operators can achieve greater automation, efficiency, and agility in managing their RAN infrastructure based on high-level intents and business requirements.
SMO (Service Management and Orchestration)
SMO encompasses the tools, processes, and technologies used to manage and orchestrate services within an IBN architecture. It focuses on aligning network services with business intents and ensuring efficient service delivery. SMO provides a centralized management platform allowing administrators to define and manage service-level policies, provision services, ensure service quality, and manage service lifecycle. It integrates with various network elements, such as routers, switches, and SDN controllers, to configure the network based on the defined policies and intents. By incorporating SMO into an IBN framework, organizations can streamline service provisioning, automate service orchestration, and dynamically adapt the network to changing business requirements. SMO helps bridge the gap between high-level business intents and the underlying network infrastructure, enabling efficient and agile service management.
To sum up, IBN has the potential to constantly adapt, protect, and inform across all IT and business processes by capturing business intent and activating and assuring it networkwide. By abstracting complexity and focusing on intent, IBN enables faster deployment, reduces manual errors, improves operational efficiency, and provides a more agile and adaptive network infrastructure, enabling large enterprises, ISPs, and system integrators to navigate the complexities of the modern network landscape successfully.
The Amantya Difference/ Get started on your IBN Journey with Amantya
At Amantya, we understand the complexities involved in adopting IBNS and offer future-ready solutions to help you successfully navigate this transformation. We are committed to providing customized solutions that scale with your evolving needs. Partner with us to unlock the full potential of IBN and drive your network toward increased efficiency, innovation, and success.
Are you ready to transform your network infrastructure? Get started with your intent-based networking journey with Amantya. Contact us at email@example.com