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Worth Reading: Intent-Based Networking Taxonomy

This blog post was initially sent to the subscribers of my SDN and Network Automation mailing list. Subscribe here.

Saša Ratković (Apstra) published a must-read Intent-Based Networking Taxonomy which (not surprisingly) isn’t too far from what I had to say about the topic in a blog post and related webinar.

It’s also interesting to note that the first three levels of intent-based networking he described match closely what we’re discussing in Building Network Automation Solutions online course and what David Barroso described in Network Automation Use Cases webinar:

  • Start with basic device configuration automation;
  • Migrate from “device configurations are the ultimate source of information” to single source of truth (abstracted network and services data model);
  • Perform real-time validation of network state.

It’s relatively easy to develop an automation solution that meets the first three levels of Saša’s definition. After all, that’s what the attendees of our network automation online course have to do during a sequence of hands-on exercises, and many of them get to the very end (testing and validation).

The final stage he’s describing (self-operation, or self-driving networks if you work for vendor J) is sometimes called event-driven automation. David Gee and Mircea Ulinic covered the basics in the Spring 2018 session of the network automation online course – just enough to show you how complex the topic can be, and how you could get started.

Finally, we’ll have Carly Stoughton talking about intent-based networking and Apstra AOS in the autumn 2018 session of the network automation course – if you want to ask her a few questions about the topic (including “when does it make sense to buy a solution versus building it yourself”) register now.

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