Why intent-based networking is important to the Internet of Things

Last week, Cisco made a number of product announcements that deliver the benefits of its intent-based networking (IBN) solution to Internet of Things (IoT) deployments.  Network World’s Michael Cooney did a great job summarizing all the product announcements, so I won’t rehash that information, but I did want to discuss the importance of IBN to IoT.

The importance of IBN to IoT

IBN is something that has been theorized for almost a decade, but solutions only became available recently. The reason why there has been a lag between vision and product is that network engineers didn’t really need IBN to run their networks until recently. Environments were closed, applications were on premises, and everything was under the tight control of the IT organization.

But then the world changed, and things went from controlled to chaotic. IBN was designed to bring order back to the chaos that has become the enterprise network. 

The enterprise network is becoming more chaotic

To date, the driving forces behind the change have been things like moving apps to the cloud, the erosion of the enterprise perimeter, and an increase in mobility. But none of these will have the impact that IoT will have on the enterprise network. IoT adds orders of magnitude more devices, many of which are not owned by the IT department. Also, many IoT devices have no inherent security capabilities and often have old operating systems and embedded passwords, making them easy to breach and creating backdoors into other critical systems.

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