Self-driving cars are set to disrupt transportation as we know it, and the basis for that is Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the age of autonomous vehicles we will tell our car something like “let’s go pick up Jane” and the car will use AI to figure out that Jane is the young daughter who needs to be picked up from kindergarten which ends in 15 minutes time, and derive the destination and best route to get there safely and on time, including all real-time driving decisions to follow law and safety of passengers and surrounding (to get a taste of just how complex that is, check out Tesla’s autonomous driving experiments).
The same concept is now applied in networking to achieve self-driving networks. While traditionally configuring networks has been very complex, laborsome and detail-heavy, new concepts such as Software Defined Networking and Intent-Based Networking arise to enable self-driving networks. In such networks, the operator will only have to provide the “how” (the intent) and let AI figure out the “how”.
An example of this new trend is Juniper’s recent announcement of AI-backed Bot applications to automate network management tasks:
- Contrail PeerBot automates the traditionally cumbersome process of network peering to simplify policy enforcement and on-demand scaling.
- Contrail TestBot automates the continuous auditing of design, provisioning, and deployment changes in the network.
- AppFormix HealthBot translates troubleshooting, maintenance, and real-time analytics into an intuitive user experience to give network operators actionable insights into the health of the overall network. This one is the result of Juniper’s 2016 acquisition of AppFormix.
… the culmination of Cisco’s vision to create an intuitive system that anticipates actions, stops security threats in their tracks, and continues to evolve and learn.
The quest for self driving networks will only accelerate, driven not only by the networking giants but also by startups such as Apstra, Forward Networks, Waltz and Veriflow. So get ready to take your hands off the wheel and let AI Bots drive for your network.
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