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Everything You Need to Know About Intent-Based Networking

Those responsible for network monitoring or similar activities are always on the hunt for technologies to reduce what can be a crushing workload. Intent-based networking (IBN) may ultimately prove to be a valuable tool to add to their technology arsenal. 

IBN solutions empower businesses to identify and respond to network issues faster and more effectively than ever. They can deliver immense value to network administrators and those interested in capitalizing on cybersecurity investing opportunities. 

What is Intent-Based Networking?

IBN represents the next evolution of software-defined networking (SDN), an architecture that emphasizes a programmatic approach to software applications. SDN emphasizes transitioning network infrastructure from hardware to software. It also focuses on shifting from configurations to policies to promote programmability and automation, thereby reducing network operating costs. 

IBN goes beyond SDN, because it involves the application of deep insights to network operations. It does so by combining automation with intelligence.

How Does Intent-Based Networking Work?


Admins can use IBN solutions that apply insights to uncover network issues and eliminate manual processes. They can then submit a request that defines the outcome, aka intent, they want, without the need for complex configuration or coding.

IBN works like SDN, since both require a network controller that serves as a central control point for network activity. The controller supports network abstraction, allowing a network to encompass different areas of IT. 

There is also a closed-loop system involved with IBM that provides functional building blocks that allow admins to deliver intent. This system includes the following components:

1. Translation

Admin intent is retrieved and translated into policies. The network uses these policies to determine how it should act in different situations. 

2. Activation

The policies that are established are then installed across physical and virtual infrastructure. 

3. Assurance

Artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and machine learning (ML) are used to perform ongoing monitoring. They verify that an admin’s desired intent is applied correctly, resulting in optimal business outcomes. 

IBN addresses can prove to be a time- and money-saver for admins. This is driving demand for IBN solutions across startup and enterprise companies alike. 

a satellite tower in front of a city landscape at night

Intent-Based Networking Solutions

IBN solutions are evolving, as can be expected with any new space. New applications, therefore, are certainly on the horizon. Top solutions currently available include:

  • Data Center

Network administrators can gain complete control over data center operations. The solution supports automation and security across data centers. It also provides admins with the ability to implement changes and monitor them from virtually any location, at any time. 

  • Access

An access solution lets admins create a single policy and apply it across wired and wireless infrastructure. This ensures admins can maintain a zero trust network

  • WAN

WAN solutions enable users to securely connect to a network on myriad devices and from locations around the world. The solutions are becoming exceedingly valuable as more companies allow employees to work remotely

  • Security

Admins can implement security measures that extend far and wide across networks. The measures can protect users against current and emerging cyberattacks.

Businesses searching for ways to improve their operations might end up putting IBN high on their must-have lists. Companies using IBN solutions are discovering that they deliver long-lasting benefits as well. 

6 Benefits of Intent-Based Networking

Although network administrators have become increasingly comfortable with SDN, it’s IBN that has industry players and network admins buzzing. That’s because IBN can offer some significant advantages. These include:

1. Fewer Manual Tasks

IBN immediately transforms commands into actions, and it ensures an admin won’t have to configure a network to comply with a new policy or business requirement. The technology instead does the work, offering options for the admin and making any changes corresponding to a desired configuration. It doesn’t require human intervention for repairs or provisioning, either. IBN can therefore free up time that an admin can use to focus on other high-value tasks. 

2. Fast Troubleshooting and Remediation

Admins were once required to commit substantial time, energy, and resources to identify problems, but IBN conducts its own continuous monitoring. The technology helps admins identify issues in their early stages. It can also apply ML to give admins insights into the best course of action to address such problems. 

3. Alignment With Industry Requirements

Admins in financial services, health care, and other highly regulated industries must comply with myriad industry requirements. Failure to do so can result in costly penalties, along with associated brand reputation damage. IBN can help admins develop and implement policies, so the technology also empowers these professionals to keep pace with compliance issues. The technology finds potential compliance problems and allows admins to correct them and follow industry standards going forward. 

4. Enhanced Security

Cybersecurity is top of mind for admins in terms of management because cybercriminals have shown they are willing to attack any endpoint at any time. IBN constantly searches for cyber threats, including those in encrypted traffic. The technology can work in lockstep with endpoint detection and response (EDR) or other security tools that a business uses to help it optimize its security posture.  

5. Improved Analytics

Understanding the data behind how a network performs can help admins get the best results out of it. IBN allows admins to collect data, analyze it, and generate actionable insights from it. The technology enables admins to retrieve data 24/7 to regularly get insights they can use to improve a network. 

6. Support for Business Goals

Admins can set up IBN to ensure it aligns with a company’s goals. This is only one way that the technology can deliver exceptional ROI.

IBN can be set up from scratch or used to replace an SDN or other networking tools that are already in place. Those who approach the technology with an open mind on how to use it are well-equipped to realize its full potential. 

6 Tips for How to Leverage Intent-Based Networking

Establishing policy requirements and intent offers a great starting point for network administrators ready to go all-in on IBN. Admins can then design and configure a network accordingly. Those who want to revamp an existing network may benefit from a gradual approach to implementing IBN. This allows admins to ensure the technology is performing as expected. It enables admins to track the performance of the technology and verify they are getting the best possible results from it. 

Admins who have implemented an IBN solution can use it to track a wide range of data. Key insights to retrieve using the technology include:

1. Performance

Admins can see how a network is performing and identify any problems. They can conduct ongoing assessments to track performance over time. This ensures admins can be proactive as they seek out ways to keep business running as usual. 

2. Behavior Analysis

Admins can analyze end-to-end network behaviors to understand the flow of traffic to different segments. This allows them to find ways to identify and remove any redundant traffic paths. 

3. Configuration Errors

The identification and remediation of configuration errors can be automated. This ensures admins won’t have to assess configuration files and code in the hopes of finding an error that is otherwise hampering a network’s performance. They can instead automatically pinpoint the exact location of a configuration issue and address it right away.   

4. Compliance Checks

Admins can conduct a health check of a network to verify compliance with industry mandates. Any compliance issues that are found will instantly trigger an alert to key personnel. Admins can then take the appropriate steps to minimize a company’s risk of compliance violations. 

5. Forecasting

IBN provides a glimpse into the future, because it empowers admins with an extensive collection of insights. Admins can use these insights to accurately project behaviors and determine how specific changes may impact performance. 

6. Documentation

Insights into a network’s design can be stored and maintained in an IBN solution. These insights can be updated regularly, and admins have complete visibility whenever changes are made. 

The applications of IBN vary based on the business and the insights it requires. Admins should consider what insights they want to capture and make a plan to retrieve them. 

It helps to keep an eye out for new IBN solutions as well. IBN is still relatively new, and the technology will continue to expand. This could lead to new applications in the years to come. As new IBN applications become available, new investment opportunities may open up too. Those who monitor the cybersecurity investing market may find IBN provides a chance at some lucrative returns. 

Contact an Expert With Questions About IBN Investment Opportunities

Businesses want networks that are fast, efficient, and secure. They are using IBN solutions as part of their efforts to accomplish their goals, and cybersecurity investors should take notice. 

Option3Ventures is a cybersecurity investing firm that can keep you in the loop regarding IBN and firms in that space that present good opportunities. Our skilled team draws from the investing world and the cybersecurity space, so we’re well-positioned to help you get impressive returns while you help keep the country safe. Contact us today for more information or tips about IBN or cybersecurity investing.


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