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December 2017, Vol. 8, No. 10

Intent-based networking systems: More questions than answers

Phil Gervasi said he loves the idea behind intent-based networking. But that doesn't mean Gervasi, a network engineer at a large pharmaceutical company in the Northeast United States, is even close to being ready to deploy the methodology. IBN -- in essence telling the network what you want rather than telling it exactly what to do -- could redefine how applications and services are delivered across networks, even as it ushers in evolutionary technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Gartner, for one, estimated more than 1,000 companies will have intent-based networking methodology in production by 2020. But to be successful, the approach will have to deliver on promises and separate itself from hype. Central to intent-based networking systems is automation. Manual steps performed by IT -- usually via a command-line interface (CLI) -- currently program the switches and scores of other devices underpinning enterprise networks. Instead of using a CLI, IBN abstracts those configuration requirements via a ...

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