Every person you ask “what policy abstraction is” will give you a different answer. But policies are an essential element for network development. The concept involved service providers when they tried to change cellular services without disrupting the network.
Today, policies are a huge part of cloud platforms and solve the challenge of attaching endpoints on a network through templates instead of manual configuration. Networks should be made more accessible, so non-networking staff can have the connectivity they need.
In the majority data centers, the network is configured on each device individually, with tightly aligned architecture. This is why the configuration is tough to automate and requires to be configured manually, making it likely to have errors and tough to audit. The process for on-premise servers cannot be transformed into virtual environments.
With compute and server virtualization, you can easily automate the monitoring and shifting of virtual machines onto cloud platforms. Despite having the servers that have a network switch as a part of their hypervisor, you need fixed network definitions for network configuration. To ensure that your network supports VMs takes time, weeks, if not days. However, this negates the benefits that come with automated VM shifting. The whole process doesn’t match the speed of deployment within containers and microservices.
Innovation Can Be a Burden
Containers and microservices are a few of the most discussed topics in the industry, as these technologies allow quick provision and reduced friction among the team members. Docker made the delivery of applications and services in a container. The containers can be grouped and shifted to wherever they are needed. All of this is done with schedulers or orchestration platforms like Mesosphere or Kubernetes.
So while we understand that the innovation is necessary, but also just adds to the burden on the network, requiring it to be flexible enough to handle the consumption and demand. Each microservice needs to stay in communication with others, making it challenging to provide isolation, security, and L4-7 services.
Network Policy Abstraction
Going with a policy-based network is one way to meet the demand for network configuration of containerized workload. Many of the principles behind such configuration originate from the mobile and broadband industry, having endpoints needing to be configured quickly.
The idea behind abstraction is to hide intricate details from the end-users. In some cases, layers of abstraction can reveal the right tools to the right users. For instance, developers that want to connect to a tier or service in an application can select services from their layout.
Network policy can include definitions of isolation, security, policies, addressing, load-balancing, and permissions. The network policies can be a part of the compliance process or created when needed. Either method can help you build up networks quickly. Abstraction is a necessary means to keep everyone away from the details like the location of the application deployment.
With the easy-to-consume abstractions, one can have the benefits:
- Networks are quickly created on-demand for containerized workloads.
- Templates used for network configuration means fewer errors and easy auditing.
- Network configuration can be done remotely, without being tied to a location.
With the policy-based approach, networking can become quick and straightforward, enabling enterprises to deploy private or hybrid Cloud Desktops without much hassle.