OpenStack Congress Set to Define IT Policy

by Sean Michael Kerner

VIDEO: Martin Casado, Networking CTO at VMware, explains how the new OpenStack project will open up app, storage and networking policy.

Setting up the policies that define compute, storage, and networking access and performance represents a key control point in any cloud or enterprise IT deployment. The Congress project, which is currently being incubated within the open-source OpenStack cloud community, might one day be the answer to delivering an open policy engine for all IT.

In a video interview with eWEEK, VMware CTO of Networking Martin Casado explains what OpenStack Congress is all about and why it could have a dramatic impact on IT operations in the future. Casado is well-known in the networking world as being one of the inventors of the OpenFlow software-defined networking (SDN) protocol. Although Casado's focus has primarily been on networking, his interest with Congress spans the entire software-defined data center (SDDC) landscape.

"Congress is an open policy layer that goes across compute, storage and networking," Casado said.

The Congress technology will be able to complement the existing OpenStack Keystone identity service. An open policy layer is seen by Casado as a way to prevent lock-in from networking vendors.

Casado explained that networking vendors have long relied on the Command Line Interface (CLI) resident on physical hardware for policy definitions in order to lock users into a platform. With OpenStack, there is no longer a need for the CLI, as automated provisioning is available to users.

Congress isn't the only attempt to build an open policy layer. Networking giant Cisco is currently helping to lead another open-source effort called Group Policy in the OpenDaylight SDN project. In Casado's view, the Group Policy approach is only a small subset of the overall challenge of dealing with IT policy.

"Congress is a broader policy effort," Casado said. "This is a declarative framework that can support things like Group Policy and also support declarative statements."

Those declarative statements could be very granular down to the user level, providing different outcomes based on different user settings.

"It's not just networking, it's everything," Casado said.

Watch the full video interview with Martin Casado below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

This article was originally published on Thursday May 8th 2014