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Northbound Intent

Oct 30, 2015

The Open Networking Foundation and SDxCentral recently held a webinar on our intent-based open source projects for Northbound Interfaces.  

Intent-based networking has become a hot topic within the SDN industry in recent months. Being a relatively new concept, ONF and SDxCentral created a joint webinar to educate the networking industry on the potential benefits of intent-based networking. This webinar comes on the heels of ONF’s open source community, OpenSourceSDN.org, recently releasing two intent-based projects – Aspen and Boulder – designed for use with Northbound Interfaces (NBI). You can get a glimpse of the webinar in the embedded SlideShare within this post. To see the full webinar, check it out here on SDxCentral.

During the webinar, our project team leaders provided insights on the benefits that these projects bring to the network. Through the collaboration of our community, we were able to see a need to create applications that convey only the intent of how they want the networks to behave, as opposed to the traditional approach of describing the needed network implementation. This capability frees the applications from having to adapt every time there is a change in the network, allows non-experts to program the network, and allows integration investment to be reused across diverse infrastructure.

Now that we have a basic understanding of intent-based networking, let’s take a look at how Aspen and Boulder can be used in networks today.

The Aspen project was designed to address automation in interactive media communications and increase portability. As multimedia and Unified Communications (UC) applications increase in popularity, enterprises and service providers are looking for solutions that help in automating Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure great media quality while reducing network complexity and cost. With the real-time media NBI, multimedia traffic is identified, treated and provisioned with assured priority and bandwidth on the network to ensure the traffic is differentiated from other non-real time sensitive traffic, thereby giving end users a high quality multimedia experience. Intent-based networking will become increasing important as more network users leverage programs like Skype, FaceTime, and streaming video.

Boulder is designed to enable intent-based portability across different controller platform solutions and provides a layer that shields application developers from all of the specifics of controller implementations, allowing for the creation of a large ecosystem across different domains of the network. Boulder can work closely with other open source ecosystem parts include OpenDaylight, ONOS, and OpenStack. With its dual licensing under both Apache and Eclipse, Boulder can be used in other controller projects as well.

We encourage you to watch our webinar with SDxCentral to get more details about intent-based networking and how it will reduce operating costs, increase programmability and deliver better application behaviors on your network. The full webinar can be accessed here. Be sure to also join us for our next free webinar with SDxCentral on December 2, addressing interoperability and operations issues. You can register for it here.

– Dave Lenrow, Distinguished Architect, Advanced Technology Group – HP Networking