Intent Based Design

Intent Based Design

Stratoss provides intent-based design and orchestration tools through its Intent Engine which is one of the core functions in the product.

There is a requirement for intent-based design because Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) brings a significant operational paradigm shift for service providers. While it is expected to bring increased agility, optimized use of infrastructure as well as reduced manual operations during the service lifecycle, the flexibility comes with increased complexity.

In the virtual world, services are made up of multiple small pieces of software each having its own lifecycle that should be managed. These pieces of software, i.e. Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and their Components (VNFCs), are used as building blocks for services. Services are defined in service models describing the required components, their relations, and dependencies. These services also have their own lifecycles that need to be managed and tied to the related VNF lifecycles.

Eventually the whole NFV business case is all about achieving the required level of automation and ability to manage the highly complex operational environment. Intent based orchestration, that automates the full lifecycle management of services and their components, without having to manually script or create complex workflows, is key to achieve these targets and run commercially viable NFV services.

Why choose a platform with an Intent Engine?

The main purpose of the Intent Engine is to auto-generate and execute the most efficient steps to get a service into its intended state without the need for the manual programming of scripts or workflows. In this sense it operates like a satellite navigation system. In a satnav, you enter the destination (intended state) and the car knows where you are (based on GPS), it knows your intended location, and then figures out the most efficient way to get there. You don’t need to program each step manually, you don’t need to program any left/right turns in the system, the system does that for you. And if there is a roadblock or accident, it re-routes you in real-time to get you to the intended location.

The Intent ENgine

The Intent Engine works in the same way. All you need is to have the VNFs wrapped in a standardized lifecycle model, then to design the service so that you describe the relationships between the VNFs in the service, ie., (“VNF1 needs to be installed first, after that it needs to tell its IP address to VNF2, which can then be installed”). This then allows the Intent Engine to auto-generate the lifecycle for the service, and always keeps it in an optimal state when something happens.

The key enabling factor to make intent based operations work is to standardize the way individual VNFCs are managed. To facilitate this, Stratoss comes with a definition of a standardized lifecycle model specifying allowed lifecycle transactions and operational states that each managed software component must follow. 

While all the VNFs follow the same lifecycle you only need to define the basic lifecycle transitions for each VNF, including Install, Start, Configure, Integrity, Stop, and Uninstall. SLM’s Intent Engine is automatically resolving the execution plans for advanced operations like heal, scale, or upgrade without any manual definition of workflows. Even more importantly SLM auto-resolves the execution plans for all service level operations based on the defined service model, current state of the service, and the desired target state. 

Generate delta graph of desired state based on current topology and requested service

Automatically create execution plan of standard lifecycle tasks required to deliver delta

VNF component lifecycles are well tested, versioned and automatically orchestrated with no human intervention

During the operational lifecycle of services Stratoss monitors the health of the underlying virtual infrastructure, deployed VNFs, and the service itself, and if needed can automatically trigger the appropriate automated tasks like healing, scaling or diagnostics.

The Benefits of the Intent Engine

Deploying Stratoss and its embedded Intent Engine helps you to manage the complexity of NFV based service operations in multiple ways: 

  • Ease and speed up onboarding and testing of VNFs
  • Facilitate and automate service design and verification
  • Automating of operations during service production lifecycle.