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Is Cisco SD Access Intent Based Networking?

Terms are defined by their usage. We strive to be as accurate as possible in our work career when we discuss something using words. That way everyone we talk to about that thing knows what we’re discussing. But what happens if the term we’re using gets “borrowed” and extended to describe something that doesn’t really fit any longer?

Intent-Based Networking is one of those terms that gets overloaded quite a bit in the community. It’s been used to describe all manner of software-defined networking (SDN) solutions that help users determine their network policy based on the intent of the user drafting the policy. And for every company that says they do it, there are several others that just think they do. Ultimately, the proof comes from what the solution is actually capable of.

Phil Gervasi takes a look at Cisco’s Software-Defined Access solution in a great post that runs down the capabilities and outcomes from deploying it. He asks questions about whether or not it meets the industry definition for Intent-Based Networking. Here’s a great example of some of his reasoning:

Seldom I’ve come across some marketing or design guide snippet that digs into “Assurance”, which I do agree is a core component of Cisco IBN. It’s not a big part of the messaging, though, and I’m not sure why.

It’s taken some time, but both my experience with the technology and a couple pieces of literature Cisco has published online have changed my mind about SDA.

Read more here Is Cisco SD Access Intent Based Networking?

About the author

Tom Hollingsworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a networking professional, blogger, and speaker on advanced technology topics. He is also an organizer for networking and wireless for Tech Field Day.  His blog can be found at