I recently got a briefing from a networking company that’s playing around with a derivative of “Intent-Based” branding.
This company isn’t alone. Lots of vendors are adopting “Intent” in their marketing language, even if the products they’re selling don’t fit into the Intent-Based Networking (IBN) category.
The industry has seen this dance before. Eight or nine years ago, any vendor that supported OpenFlow was “Software-Defined.” Last year, any box that could fail over from one WAN link to another was “SD-WAN.”
This year, it appears that if you expose APIs and can auto-configure a network device, you are “Intent-Based.”
A Working Definition
To my mind, an intent-based system should:
–Be able to translate a high-level, human-readable business outcome into low-level device configurations
–Have a comprehensive view of the infrastructure and the current state and configuration of elements within that infrastructure, including but not limited to switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, and VMs
–Be able to program the requisite elements within that infrastructure to achieve the stated business outcomes
–Validate that the appropriate changes have been made
–Continuously verify that the infrastructure as configured meets the business outcomes
–Adjust device state as necessary if the infrastructure falls out of compliance with the intended state, or at least alert an administrator
That’s a tall order, and it’s possible that even the companies pioneering actual intent-based systems won’t be able to deliver.
Confusion As A Business Strategy
In the meantime, customers don’t benefit when IBN—or any other tech category—gets warped and stretched so out of shape as to be meaningless. It causes confusion.
Unfortunately, I think vendors think they benefit from this confusion, either by snagging a sale through marketing, or at least paralyzing would-be buyers from purchasing a competitor’s product.
If you’re a customer with actual problems to solve, this vendor strategy sucks.
Provide A Good Product And Rest Will Follow
The tech industry prides itself on innovation and creativity. Why do so many vendors chase buzzwords and play copycat?
- Your customers want clarity about your product’s capabilities, not empty jargon
- Your customers want to solve problems, not tick a buzzword box
- Your customers want a vendor partner that eschews mendacity and focuses on building quality products
A Glimpse Into The Future
Let’s assume that this plea for clarity falls on deaf ears. Given the history of technology and technology marketing, it’s a safe assumption.
If that’s the case, let’s accelerate the next cycle. I predict that in three years, IBN will be over and we’ll all be talking about Neural-Enhanced Quantum Network Vessels (NEQNVs).
- Marketing leading
- Your key to digital transformation
- AI 2.0
- Not just mutli-cloud, they’re quantum-entangled
- Telekinetic. That’s right–they’re f****ing telekinetic!
This is your chance to get a jump on the competition; start rebranding your box as NEQNV-enabled before the other guy does.