Businesses need networks that can quickly adapt to changing needs. ALE Digital Age Networking delivers the intelligence that 21st century businesses demand.
It’s widely agreed that networks are evolving in the wake of digital transformation, or perhaps, it’s the other way around. Certainly, there is a virtuous circle where digital businesses require more sophisticated and intelligent networks, which lead to smarter networks and to more digitalized business..
This virtuous circle of digital transformation has been driving network evolution from IT-oriented legacy networks, built purely for connectivity, to futuristic business-driven intelligent networks.
The goal of early connectivity-driven networks was to enable the connection of authorized users and devices. These networks implemented reactive alarm-based monitoring and were mainly manually operated.
After many iterations of the connectivity-driven network, Software-defined Networking (SDN) emerged as the next notable evolution with the beginning of network abstraction. In the Software-defined Network a central controller orchestrates the network through automation and programmability using APIs—similar to the brain controlling body functions through a set of instructions.
However, despite having been touted by networking leaders, SDN has not actually taken off. According to leading industry analysts this is because SDN is an architectural approach rather than an actual product.
That said, SDN will stay on course for the time being, simply because of its own inertia. However, innovation never stops and a new wave of evolution called “service-driven networking” is already making its mark. Service-driven networking supports adaptive, proactive and dynamic networks, aligned with business objectives.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise did not venture down the SDN path but rather focused on improving network performance, management and operation through distributed intelligent control, automation, centralized policies and smart analytics. Today the forward-looking ALE Digital Age Networking (DAN) strategy is fully aligned with innovative “service-driven networking” concepts.
ALE defines a network service as “a secure network connection from a person or object to its authorized application(s)”. The Service-defined Network pillar of the DAN strategy provides automatic enablement of services across the network, based on the Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) protocol in IEEE 802.1aq standard. Supported and complemented by the IoT Digital Business and Augmented Intelligence DAN pillars, these services connect users, applications and IoT devices, securely and automatically, following business defined rules.
As we look forward, the next evolution in the networking arena is Intent-based Networking (IBN). IBN offers a new agile approach to networking where software can plan, design and make changes on the fly to quickly address network needs.
ALE Digital Age Networking provides a path toward Intent-Based Networking. A new generation of AI-enabled networks with embedded artificial intelligence will be able to analyze and correlate data collected from the network with additional business inputs. Based on the outcome of the data analysis, the network will be able to dynamically adapt itself, improve its performance and, ultimately, address changing business needs.
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