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Intent-Based Networking

Align business goals to network results

In today's world, the network connects everything. From users and devices in a campus or branch location to an application in the data centre or cloud, the network has the potential to constantly adapt, protect, and inform across all IT and business processes. But how?

Only with an intent-based network. By capturing business intent and activating and assuring it networkwide, you can bridge the gap between what your business needs and what your network delivers.

See what's next in networking

On October 24, 2019, get futurists' insights on industry-shaping trends, technology transformation, and the impact of artificial intelligence on the workforce.

What's new

Cisco policy and assurance integrations are now available and working across multiple network domains. These integrations enable consistent performance, compliance, and security enforcement in the campus and branch, WAN, and data centre and cloud domains. 

Our announcement blog describes the benefits of aligning policies across network domains.​

Find out how Cisco ACI, Cisco SD-Access, and Cisco SD-WAN share policies across domains.

Features and benefits

What intent-based networking can do for you

Simplified operations

Centralise network policy control, automate management, and integrate IT workflows.

Proactive ​management

Use network monitoring and analytics, aided by machine learning, to pinpoint, report, and remedy issues before they become problems.

Security throughout the network

Detect and contain threats everywhere, in real time. Use network intelligence to quickly alert security operations.

Investment for innovation

Deliver IT and business innovation now and in the future, built on an open, intent-based networking platform.

See what the experts are saying​

Building the bridge between business and IT

Download the white paper and get a technical look at Cisco's vision and the architecture and benefits of an intent-based network.

Wi-Fi 6 is here. What should you do now?

Tens of millions of Wi-Fi 6 devices will be in use by the end of 2020. The Farpoint Group report discusses the challenges facing adoption and how to get the most out of this major advance.

New intent-based networking innovations

Enterprise networks extends across domains

Application policy, security, and segmentation now work together across access, WAN, and data centre/cloud to fulfill one business intent.

Data centre networks drive consistency anywhere

Scale multicloud networks with operational simplicity and a consistent policy model--any app, any location, any cloud.

Your trusted advisor for network assurance​

Ease IT operations, predict network outages, improve productivity, and reduce risk. Leverage unique expertise, actionable insights, innovative tools, and best practices from Cisco Services.

See what customers are saying

Cisco DNA Center helps me find problems proactively, before users contact me. With a mostly wireless network, I'm able to find devices throughout the network and quickly solve any problems with the help of analytics.

Manuel Ortiz III, Senior Wireless Engineer, Houston Methodist Hospital

Cisco Network Assurance Engine enables us to greatly reduce the risk of production outages, accelerate timeliness, and achieve high-quality application migrations.

Jan Holzmann, Team Lead Data Centre Operations, Bosch

In addition to security, visibility, and availability, Cisco technologies give all of us the ability to sleep at night. And ever since Cisco Tetration was launched, not a single outage has been blamed on the network.

Eugene Pretorius, CIO of Infrastructure and Security Services, First National Bank (FNB)

What is intent-based networking?

An intent-based network bridges the gap between business and IT. It captures business intent and continuously aligns the end-to-end network with that intent. Intent can apply to application service levels, security policies, compliance, operational processes, and other business needs.

Why is intent-based networking important?

Organisations need to move faster and with confidence. Many networks cannot keep up with the scale, complexity, and threats of today's business environment. The business benefits of intent-based networking are clear in three main areas:

  • Speed and agility. The network is able to rapidly respond to an organisation's needs with little manual intervention.
  • Business value. The reduced time and effort required to maintain the network translates into more time for IT innovations that provide real value to the business.
  • Reduced risk. Improved network visibility, analytics, and automation result in faster threat detection and containment, continuous compliance, and reduced downtime.​

How does intent-based networking work?

Intent-based networking captures and translates business intent so that it can be applied across the network. The network continuously monitors and adjusts to ensure alignment. That's achieved through a closed-loop system that includes:

  • Translation. Business intent capture and translation.
  • Activation. Automated policy activation, networkwide.
  • Assurance. Continuous monitoring and verification.

For intent-based networking to achieve its full potential, all these functions build on a programmable network infrastructure.


How can you get started?

  • Start by understanding the fundamental business case and technology requirements of an intent-based network.
  • Identify a domain (such as data centre, campus, or WAN) that would most benefit from the transition.
  • Assess which elements of the existing network infrastructure support an intent-based architecture and which need upgrading.
  • Choose a technology partner that can help you create and implement your intent-based network roadmap.

Learn how Cisco can help

Data centres:

Enterprise networks:

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