Intent-based networking is a hot topic within the Cisco world and is an important investment in Cisco’s future. In this article, I will give you a quick overview of intent-based networking and some key points about the technology. The concept behind intent-based networking is to first capture the businesses intent or in simple terms the purpose in which the network will be used and then translate this into policies to focus on maximising the network as it is intended.
Let’s say you want to host a video call but to do this smoothly there is extra config required. This can result in extra work for a network admin and can be hard to manage at times. Intent-based networking will allow this to happen with minimal work involved.
DNA Center is the foundation controller and analytics platform at the heart of Cisco’s intent-based networking technology. Cisco DNA Center provides a single dashboard for every fundamental management task to simplify running your network. With this platform, IT can respond to changes and challenges faster and more intelligently.
Cisco DNA is a great tool for troubleshooting and will display packet loss and a history of when packet loss has occurred. It will also give you a detailed topology of your network and information about the health of the links. There are also some built-in standard tools that engineers use every day to investigate and diagnose issues. This is a great tool for Cisco TAC engineers to quickly understand a network that they are not familiar with. You may not even need to call TAC at all if you have an issue. Cisco DNA will recognise the issue and suggest troubleshooting steps for yourself to try and hopefully resolve the issue quickly
Cisco DNA allows you to dynamically change the configuration of the network either at a push of a button or by a time schedule. Let’s say for example you managed shared office space and you need your network to change according to the business that will occupy it. The office is rented by a multimedia company during the day and the same office is rented to an Alcoholics Autonomous meeting in the evening. The intent of each business would change and so would the configuration of the network automatically. The network will automatically change to allow a higher priority for multimedia traffic during the day and at night you would limit access to sites related to Alcohol.
So this sounds a lot like Software Defined Networking? Well, it is but at a much higher level. Software-Defined Networking is currently referred to as a software program that is utilised to help configure a network device. Intent-based networking is more intuitive. It will be more accurately defined as a technology that allows the network to dynamically change in line with the needs of the users and the business. Things will often change in business and usually, it will change faster than when you are prepared for it. Cisco DNA will allow for you to cater for these changes rapidly and dynamically.