SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz

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
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Chicago, Nexum® takes a comprehensive approach to security. Nexum approaches business with one simple statement: “Do what’s right for the customer and success will follow.” Nexum helps you mitigate risks, protect your data, increase business continuity and meet your unique business objectives by: Detecting and preventing network threats, intrusions and disruptions Equipping you with the information, tools, training and resources you need to effectively m...
The vast majority of businesses now use cloud services, yet many still struggle with realizing the full potential of their IT investments. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack the internal IT staff and expertise to fully move to and manage workloads in public cloud environments. Speaker Todd Schwartz will help session attendees better navigate the complex cloud market and maximize their technical investments. The SkyKick co-founder and co-CEO will share the biggest challe...
Despite being the market leader, we recognized the need to transform and reinvent our business at Dynatrace, before someone else disrupted the market. Over the course of three years, we changed everything - our technology, our culture and our brand image. In this session we'll discuss how we navigated through our own innovator's dilemma, and share takeaways from our experience that you can apply to your own organization.
All in Mobile is a mobile app agency that helps enterprise companies and next generation startups build the future of digital. We offer mobile development and design for smartphones, tablets and wearables. Our projects cover the latest and most innovative technologies - voice assistants, AI, AR/VR and more. We excel at solutions for sports, fintech and retail industries.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine ...
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small busines...
"DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at @DevOpsSUMMIT and CloudEXPO tell the world how they can leverage this emerging disruptive trend."
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, softwar...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve fu...
Wasabi is the hot cloud storage company delivering low-cost, fast, and reliable cloud storage. Wasabi is 80% cheaper and 6x faster than Amazon S3, with 100% data immutability protection and no data egress fees. Created by Carbonite co-founders and cloud storage pioneers David Friend and Jeff Flowers, Wasabi is on a mission to commoditize the storage industry. Wasabi is a privately held company based in Boston, MA. Follow and connect with Wasabi on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the Wasabi blog...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 will cover all of these tools, with the most comprehensive program and with 222 rockstar speakers throughout our industry presenting 22 Keynotes and General Sessions, 250 Breakout Sessions along 10 Tracks, as well as our signature Power Panels. Our Expo Floor will bring together the leading global 200 companies throughout the world of Cloud Computing, DevOps, IoT, Smart Cities, FinTech, Digital Transformation, and all they entail. As ...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
Only Adobe gives everyone - from emerging artists to global brands - everything they need to design and deliver exceptional digital experiences. Adobe Systems Incorporated develops, markets, and supports computer software products and technologies. The Company's products allow users to express and use information across all print and electronic media. The Company's Digital Media segment provides tools and solutions that enable individuals, small and medium businesses and enterprises to cre...