A self-driving car is less work for the driver than a car with a manual transmission. But what if a car not only drove itself, but took itself in for repairs and updated its own routes? Self-healing technology may seem far off, but it can already be seen in action in distributed data center networks that use intent-based networking (IBN). 

Just like a self-driving car’s final destination is programmed from the start, so too is the automated data center’s. With IBN, network operators input their intent — the exact purpose they want their network to achieve — from day zero. That way by the time day two arrives, they’re already ahead of the game. By starting operations at day zero, IBN systems transform data center networks into self-healing, proactive machines that provide efficiency, simplicity and reliability to organizations. 

Operations from day zero

Network automation solutions such as IBN set the intent desired of the network at day zero, and the IBN software is then responsible for delivering on this intent. Automation allows organizations with distributed infrastructure to approach their entire network as a single unit giving IT teams the ability to remotely push updates at scale to the various devices within the network, regardless of location.

IBN systems can avoid crises before they cause disruptions to the network. The system collects real-time data from the network and continuously validates it to ensure that the network is understanding and meeting the intent that was set. If any errors or deviations from that intent occur, the IBN system detects them and alerts the operator, showing them exactly where the source of the error arose — before these issues evolve into major security threats. Operators can even allow the system to auto-remediate deviations from intent, creating a true self-healing network experience.

In an IBN system, network operators can test if a solution they want to push across the network will create an error before they even deploy it. Network operators can stage any changes they would like to the network, effectively simulating various “what if” scenarios before they actually deploy them on the network. Once changes are deployed, the system constantly monitors to make sure the intent is being met and it will let operators know if a potential new solution could break that intent. 

A proactive approach

In a world that is constantly changing, IBN offers a solution that can manage the demands of a network with a distributed infrastructure. With automation and continuous validation, IBN can transform a data center network into its own self-healing machine, offering several key benefits:  

  • Efficiency:
    Automation aids operators with high volume, mundane tasks saving them from time-consuming manual labor and eliminating some of the human error involved in the manual operations of an IT network. Thanks to intent-based analytics that can identify network anomalies and their root causes, automation can free up these network resources to work on more important tasks. IBN systems allow IT teams to operate more complex infrastructures without needing to hire more staff. For organizations that are struggling with limited resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic, automation simplifies the process and allows IT teams to focus on business strategies so that their organization can stay ahead of the competition.
  • Simplicity and reliability:
    IBN introduces simplicity and reliability through automation and assurance. From day zero, an IBN system continually validates that the network is operating as intended from the build to deployment and beyond. The end result is a data center infrastructure that is continually operating the way it is intended to and alerting operators if it deviates off course. Constantly validating intent introduces reliability by using the data to maintain performance, security and compliance of the network.  
  • Proactive, predictable solution:
    Unlike monitoring tools that produce an overwhelming amount of data and react to outages after the fact, IBN is a proactive solution. By understanding exactly how the network is supposed to operate from day zero, by day two, operators aren’t reacting to any unexpected errors. Instead, they are deploying IBN to watch for errors before they happen. With automation, networks are able to self-diagnose and pivot in order to avoid disruptions in the network — resulting in a predictable operational experience. 

IBN introduces efficiency, simplicity and reliability in a proactive solution that can abstract away complexity while reducing burnout and increasing productivity for IT teams. A data center that is paired with IBN can transform into a self-healing network that delivers a predictable operational experience and is ready to respond to the next crisis before it even happens.