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Today's network environments are too complex to track by purely manual efforts. With digital twin technology, IT teams can build a virtual model of the production network and use it to validate configurations, simulate changes, and streamline management.

The use of digital twins – digital representations of physical objects or systems – is on the rise. Enterprises can use digital twins to replicate their IT environments, including infrastructure, network equipment, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and then run simulations to test the impact of changes and to optimize performance. They can be used to validate the current state of a network, for example, and test configuration changes, firmware updates, or adjustments to security policies.

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Just like that, we’ve completed another Networking Field Day (NFD). Only this time, we had a customer present: Michael Wynston, Director of Network Architecture and Automation at Fiserv, joined us to share how the Forward Enterprise network digital twin is saving his organization time and money by delivering a trusted source of truth for his network inventory

Additionally, our own Mike Lossmann explained the security benefits of a network digital twin and co-founder, Nikhil Handigol, shared how generative AI is helping engineers of all skill levels gain complex network insights using natural language prompts.   

As usual, the delegates put us through our paces with insightful and sometimes challenging questions, which is the reason we enjoy this event so much: it’s engineers talking to engineers (marketing people like me are verboten), and they don’t hold back. We’re delighted that three of the delegates have published articles detailing their takeaways from our presentations.   

"Forward Networks - The tale of an aptly named company" by Ryan Lambert provides an in-depth exploration of Forward Networks' approach to network digital twins. Lambert delves into the practical applications of network digital twins, highlighting their ability to model network behaviors and streamline network management processes. From compliance verification to outage troubleshooting, he believes that network digital twins promise to revolutionize how organizations manage their networks. 

John Herbert's article, "'AI Assist' is better than 'AI Do It For Me'," offers a candid reflection on the role of artificial intelligence in network management. Herbert emphasizes the importance of maintaining human oversight and control in the face of AI-driven solutions. He likes Forward Networks' AI Assist feature for its user-centric approach, which empowers users to evaluate and modify AI-generated queries, ensuring accuracy and reliability in network management tasks. 

In "Unveiling the power of Digital Twins," Greg Grimes explores the transformative potential of network digital twins in network management. Greg outlines Forward Networks' innovative approach to creating its network digital twin, which eliminates the computational burden associated with traditional virtual appliances. With practical applications ranging from compliance verification to route update predictions, Forward’s network digital twin modernizes network management processes. 

If you get a chance, please take a look at the full-length versions of the articles; they’re written by engineers, not professional journalists or analysts. It’s a window into how “hands-on-keyboard” professionals feel about our capabilities.  

Natural language prompts put the power of NQE into the hands of every networking engineer

As featured in Network World, Forward Networks has raised the bar for network digital twin technology with AI Assist. This groundbreaking addition empowers NetOps, SecOps, and CloudOps professionals to harness the comprehensive insights of NQE through natural language prompts to quickly resolve complex network issues.

See the feature in action.

AI Assist: Transforming Network Operations:

Recognizing the persistent challenges faced by engineers in accessing hybrid, multi-cloud network data amid vendor diversity and network complexity, Forward Networks introduced AI Assist, available today as part of release 24.1. The new feature facilitates Network Query Engine (NQE) searches using natural language prompts, allowing engineers of varying skill levels to conduct sophisticated network queries with a minimal learning curve. The feature also generates natural language explanations for queries, fostering improved collaboration and understanding within teams.

Building on the Industry’s Most Comprehensive Networking Data Library:

Leveraging its extensive NQE library, the capability will be continuously improved through use. A world-class networking large language model (LLM) combined with the industry’s most comprehensive network digital twin delivers the AI outcomes that users can trust.

Learn more about Forward Networks’ AI implementation at www.forwardnetworks.com/ai

Forward introduces AI Assist to help engineers gain greater insights and reach faster resolutions to their most challenging network issues using natural language

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks has officially launched AI Assist, a groundbreaking generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature integrated into its flagship platform, Forward Enterprise. This cutting-edge addition aims to empower NetOps, SecOps, and CloudOps professionals, enabling them to gain comprehensive insights and expedite solutions for their most demanding network challenges through natural language prompts. The announcement coincides with the company's unveiling of its long-term AI strategy.

Recognizing the persistent need for enhanced access to hybrid, multi-cloud network data among engineers, Forward Networks addresses the hurdles posed by vendor diversity and network complexity. AI Assist, available today, facilitates Network Query Engine (NQE) searches using natural language, thus allowing team engineers of varying skill levels to conduct sophisticated network queries with minimal learning curve. Moreover, AI Assist generates natural language explanations for existing queries, fostering improved collaboration and understanding within the team.

Forward Networks is harnessing the collective power of user-generated searches and its extensive NQE library to train its networking large language model (LLM). Because Forward Enterprise collects an unparalleled breadth of cloud and device data, the integration of the networking LLM with Forward's advanced data platform streamlines operations and provides even novice users with advanced insights into network behavior. Leveraging the ease of natural language, AI Assist empowers engineers to quickly assess network behavior and identify potential issues (e.g., non-compliance, troubleshooting). The model's continuous improvement is driven by operator utilization, establishing a solid foundation for upcoming AI features.

"By combining the power of our network digital twin with AI, we make it even easier for engineering and security teams to extract critical insights from their network," said Nikhil Handigol, Co-Founder, Forward Networks. "We are developing the world's leading networking large language model, laying the groundwork for future features that proactively assist engineers, enhance the efficiency and safety of changes, and aid in determining optimal network configurations. Since founding the company just over ten years ago, our passion has continued to grow and drive our commitment to modernize networks. Harnessing the powerful capabilities of AI is integral to achieving our vision."

Forward Networks ensures that the world's most complex and mission-critical networks are secure, agile, and predictable. The platform gathers configuration and L2-L7 state data from network devices and public cloud platforms, creates a mathematical model of the network, and computes all possible traffic paths. Supporting devices from major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, Forward Enterprise stands out as the go-to solution for large enterprises managing multi-vendor, hybrid-cloud networks.

"In this hyper-connected digital business environment, networks and networking staff are under tremendous pressure to heighten service integrity and capabilities on a continual basis," said IDC's Mark Leary, Research Director – Network Observability and Automation. "IDC research indicates that those organizations that leverage the power of AI across their network infrastructure are driving greater gains in operational efficiency, digital experience, and key financial measurements. Forward Networks' purpose-built networking LLM, coupled with their comprehensive digital twin platform, represents a promising advancement in bolstering network resiliency and responsiveness."

Read Press Release on PR Newswire

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