Provenance for Intent-Based Networking

Benjamin E. Ujcich, Adam Bates, and William H. Sanders.
2020 IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization (NetSoft '20).
The Internet. June 29, 2020.
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Intent-based networking (IBN) promises to simplify the network management and automated orchestration of high-level policies in future networking architectures such as software-defined networking (SDN). However, such abstraction and automation creates new network visibility challenges. Existing SDN network forensics and diagnostics tools operate at a lower level of network abstraction, which makes intent-level reasoning difficult. We present PROVINTENT, a framework extension for SDN control plane tools that accounts for intent semantics. PROVINTENT records the provenance and evolution of intentsas the network’s state and apps’ requests change over time andenables reasoning at multiple abstractions. We define an intent provenance model, we implement a proof-of-concept tool, and we evaluate the efficacy of PROVINTENT’s explanatory capabilitiesby using a representative intent-driven network application.