A taxonomy of Intent-Based Networking (IBN)


You have probably heard all sorts of claims by various vendors and solutions that they are providing or supporting Intent-Based Networking (IBN), yet there is a wide range of capabilities that are all very confusing.

One way to make sense of this is to apply a “maturity model” like the one used to classify the maturity level of RESTful web services implementations. The Richardson Maturity Model divides capabilities of RESTful web services into levels, starting from 0 and going up as the maturity of the implementation increases. Just like IBN, REST had received its fair share of hype. While the REST principles were clearly defined in Roy Fielding’s dissertation, in practice the REST label was attached to implementations with wildly varying levels of conformance to the original principles, starting from anything that had the words “HTTP” and “JSON” in it to full blown “hypermedia as the engine of application state.”

The formation of a coherent model helped greatly in understanding the fundamental differences between the implementations in the wild that had the REST label slapped onto them.

Level 0 IBN: gradual introduction of capabilities

As IBN matures it is expected that there will be early implementations that do not have all the required capabilities initially implemented. Capabilities that may be present in these Level 0 systems include the ability to:

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