Intent-Based Networking and the Future of Software Defined Networks

Avatar for Jody GilliamBy Jody Gilliam|Jun 15, 2018|7:30 am CDT

Remember the early years of child rearing when you told your son or daughter that it was time to clean their room, but you had to sit down on the floor and help them pick up all the toys or the work would never get done? As children mature, they grow out of that phase, and they start doing the work without your help and detailed instruction. They start to understand the intent behind your command and the tasks need to achieve the goal.

Well, networks are making similar advances. It’s called intent-based networking.

Masergy ran a quick social media poll to get a pulse on the number of people who have heard of intent-based networking. Only 30% of our respondents are familiar with the term. Clearly, it needs an introduction. Let’s explore the evolution of networking technologies and how to build a self-modifying network.

In 2015, I wrote an article labeling software defined networking (SDN) as a technology on the rise. The article talked about how SDN promised to transform enterprise networks into modular assets that can be assembled and rearranged as business needs require, ultimately making networks just as programmable as the components connected to them.

With all of that in the rearview mirror now, we see that SDN has indeed delivered, as evidenced by the adoption rates in both the data center and wide area networking including SD-WAN. By 2020, Gartner predicts the programmatic capabilities of a software defined data center will be considered a requirement for 75 percent of Global 2000 enterprises that seek to implement a DevOps approach and a hybrid cloud model. SD-WAN is following suit. Gartner blogger Andrew Lerner recently reported, “While many networking technologies are over-hyped as the next big thing, SD-WAN is delivering on the promise. In just three short years, adoption has taken off. . .” Additionally, Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant report for Global Network Services states nearly 40% of its survey respondents are using or evaluating SD-WAN specifically, while another 26% are planning for SD-WAN in the next 18 months.

But beyond just a technology “on the rise,” SDN has become a foundational element for the future of enterprise networking. SDN is paving the way for intent-based, self-sufficient networks.

SDN: A Foundation for Our Intent-Based Future

Intelligent Service Control enables global bandwidth on demand. Customer needs continue to define Masergy’s future. Today, enterprises want tools to write directly to our Software Defined Platform for which we offer open APIs. In addition to API capabilities, we offer iPaaS tools to streamline SaaS application integration and business process automation. We’re will soon be helping our customers secure all their SaaS applications through CASB (cloud access security broker) technology partnerships. As our way of continuously delivering built-in value, we’re always working on incorporating more tools, and opening more APIs. Finally, machine learning is a deeply ingrained of our security analytics engine, and continues to propel our solution suite through automated, data-driven optimization.

The next challenge is creating a self-aware network that will be intent driven, and this is our vision. Our team is exploring these opportunities, laying the foundations and pushing our boundaries into this new frontier. Both our people and our platform stand ready to welcome it all and share its advantages with you.

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