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Security Policy Features in OpenStack

Overview of Existing Network Policy and Security Groups in OpenStack

Contrail virtual networks are isolated by default. Workloads in a virtual network cannot communicate with workloads in other virtual networks, by default. A neutron router or a Contrail network policy may be used to connect two virtual networks. In addition, Contrail network policy also provides security between two virtual networks by allowing or denying specified traffic.

OpenStack security groups allow access between workloads and instances for specified traffic types and any other types are denied.

A security policy model for any given customer first needs to map to the OpenStack network policy framework and security group constructs.

In modern cloud environments, workloads are moving from one server to another, one rack to another and so on. Therefore, users must rely less on using IP addresses or other network coordinates to identify the endpoints to be protected. Instead users must leverage application attributes to author policies, so that the policies don't need to be updated on account of workload mobility.

You might want to segregate traffic based on the different categories of data origination, such as:

  • Protecting the application itself

  • Segregating traffic for specific component tiers within the application

  • Segregating traffic based on the deployment environment for the application instance

  • Segregating traffic based on the specific geographic location where the application is deployed

There are many other possible scenarios where traffic needs to be segregated.

Additionally, you might need to group workloads based on combinations of tags. These intents are hard to express with existing network policy constructs or Security Group constructs. Besides, existing policy constructs leveraging the network coordinates, must continually be rewritten or updated each time workloads move and their associated network coordinates change.

Security Policy Enhancements

As the Contrail environment has grown and become more complex, it has become harder to achieve desired security results with the existing network policy and security group constructs. The Contrail network policies have been tied to routing, making it difficult to express security policies for environments such as cross sectioning between categories, or having a multi-tier application supporting development and production environment workloads with no cross environment traffic.

Starting with Release 5.1, Contrail Networking supports the OpenStack Neutron Firewall version 2 API extension known as Neutron FWaaS (Firewall as a Service). The Neutron API enhancements make the existing FWaaS more granular by giving you the ability to apply the firewall rules at the port level rather than at the router level, and to have different firewall policies with different rules applied to inbound versus outbound connections. Support is extended to various types of Neutron ports, including VM ports and SFC ports as well as router ports. It also provides better grouping mechanisms (firewall groups, address groups and service groups). Finally, the Firewall Group enables firewall policies to be bound to Neutron ports.

Related enhancements to the OpenStack Neutron and Contrail security groups API include:

  • Firewall rules support deny, reject, description, and admin status attributes

  • A share attribute for firewall rules allow them to be shared between different projects

  • Filtering based on the source and destination address prefix and port rather than just the remote destination

  • Firewall groups reference firewall rules through a firewall policy, allowing reuse of shareable firewall policies that are referenced by multiple firewall groups

Configuration Objects

The following are the configuration objects for the new security features.

  • firewall-policy

  • firewall-rule

  • policy-management

  • application-policy

  • service-group

  • address-group

  • tag

  • global-application-policy

For more information on security policies in Contrail, see Security Policy Features.