Network administration has long been a hands-on endeavor for IT admins. Any change required manual changes and constant monitoring. Human error is inevitable and frustrating for IT admins and end-users alike. Intent-based networking (IBN) revolutionizes networking. Administrators input their intent, and the network translates that intent into policy.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is what makes IBN possible. Let’s take a closer look at how AI turned your desired outcomes into a practical reality.

AI in Translation

Translation is the first step in the IBN process. It’s what connects your business goals to your network in a way that’s agile and scalable. Instead of telling the network how to do things, admins tell the network what to do. AI determines the how. The network can create complex, nuanced policies based on users or groups. It can create short-term changes or deploy network-wide applications.

Translation is what truly sets IBN apart from traditional networking. One or more operators can express their intent using a graphical interface, an abstracted model, a predefined language or through a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) process. In the not-too-distant future, you may even be able to use text-to-speech to express intent. Once the network knows your intent, it gets to work translating it into policies, even across multiple network domains.

Intent to Execution

What does AI translation look like? Let’s consider a few examples:

  • An accounting department is compiling annual financial statements. Senior accounting managers need higher-level access to review information from across departments. They need secure, speedy access until the statements are completed. An IT admin inputs this intent, and AI translates it into security policies for that user group. It also allocates network resources to ensure a fast, consistent connection, even when large amounts of data are involved.
  • A regional bank is holding an all-hands company meeting via teleconference. A system admin expresses this intent, and AI allocates the required network resources for a high-bandwidth meeting across multiple sites.
  • A law firm wants to establish a secure, separate connection for clients to access WiFi. An admin expresses this intent and AI creates a secure, siloed connection point for guest users.

These examples barely scratch the surface of IBN. It bridges the gap between business and IT in a way that hasn’t been possible before. AI is the power behind it all.

Checks and Balances

Translation is only the first step. After deciding what needs to be done, AI activates policies across the network in line with your intent. Next, it confirms that your intent is being carried out, providing assurance. If any issues are found, those are either corrected by the network or presented to an admin along with recommended remediation steps.

Cisco leads the way when it comes to intent-based networking. IBN combines Cisco’s decades of best-of-class solutions, using AI and machine learning to constantly improve and make your network more flexible to meet today’s needs. Acadia Technology Group is a Cisco Premier Partner with extensive experience bringing cutting-edge solutions to a variety of markets, including finance, manufacturing and legal. Learn more about how IBN works in our blog.

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