Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Clash of Ops: How Security turns Stateless into Stateful

stateful-networking-explained

It was a Monday. I was reading the Internet. Okay, I was skimming feeds. Anyway, I happened across a title that intrigued me, “Stateful Apps and Containers: Squaring the Circle.” It had all the right buzzwords (containers) and mentioned state, a topic near and dear to this application networking-oriented gal, so I happily clicked on through.

Turns out that Stateful Apps are not Stateful Apps. Seriously.

To be fair, I should really say that when a devops guy talks about ‘stateful apps’ it is not the same thing as when a netops gal uses the term ‘stateful apps.’  That’s because the devops guy is referring to persistent data storage for applications. File systems, databases, etc… When a netops gal talks about stateful apps, they’re talking about the unique characteristics that identify existing TCP connections between two systems, like a client and an app. Devops thinks in terms of app data, netops about network data.

Devops and netops speak different languages that use the same word to mean different things. It’s like English. No big deal.

The thing is that this may seem like a minor issue to be worried about. But then I got thinking about emerging application architectures like microservices and the dominance of APIs and the urgency with which everyone is moving to secure HTTP traffic. And I realized that actually, it is a pretty big deal, because it’s a clash of ops. While devops is over there, building stateless architectures based on the newest theories and principles of scalability, we’re requiring security that basically negates many of the benefits we might have seen.

That’s because the nature of public key cryptography requires state in the network.

Here Comes the (Computer) Science

Public key infrastructure (PKI) is based on a fairly simple premise that information is exchanged between two endpoints (client and app) that is unique to that connection. That means any subsequent exchanges have to be made between the two endpoints that established that connection.

That’s stateful networking.

Even if your entire architecture is based on stateless microservices, once you add security (SSL/TLS), it’s stateful. Whamo! Just like that. And that impacts scale. Because now you’ve got to figure out how best to distribute traffic based on how loaded any given instance of that app might be.

And you probably don’t want to be renegotiating secure sessions for every, single, interaction. You don’t. I don’t care how much faster HTTP/2 is, or how much better ECC is over previous generations of cryptography (spoiler: quite a bit better), there is still significant latency by the process of negotiating that connection. There’s the overhead of establishing the underlying TCP session and then the security negotiations. That adds latency thanks to all those round trips back and forth, which means slower application response times. Especially on mobile devices.

So what? You might say. It’s measured in milliseconds, that can’t possibly impact the application experience.

But it does. Milliseconds matter, especially today, when digital natives who’ve never experienced what 2800bps feels like want their apps to respond instantaneously, with LAN-like performance.

What that means is that adding that layer of security (which is – or should be – a requirement) effectively turns your elegant, stateless architecture into a stateful one.

This is why architecture matters. Because it’s no longer a matter of throwing a load balancer in front of those services and picking an algorithm, it’s about extending the app architecture into the network, upstream, and understanding the advantages of terminating that security before it gets all that “state” in your “stateless” architecture. If the load balancer (or ADC if you prefer) is terminating SSL/TLS, then it has to manage the negotiation, and the back and forth with clients. That means it’s free (if it’s a modern proxy-based solution) to interact in with services in the back-end the way dev intended: statelessly.

stateful-stateless-arch

The thing to be aware of is that when app architectures and network architectures meet, they can often clash and effectively negate all the goodness intended by the new app architecture in the first place. DevOps is as much about communication between groups as it is automating the processes between them. That means understanding the impact of the network on apps, and vice versa and agreeing on an architecture that preserves the best characteristics of the app architecture without sacrificing network speed or security.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Latest Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
For far too long technology teams have lived in siloes. Not only physical siloes, but cultural siloes pushed by competing objectives. This includes informational siloes where business users require one set of data and tech teams require different data. DevOps intends to bridge these gaps to make tech driven operations more aligned and efficient.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...