API-aware Networking and Security
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Cilium: Helping Linux Secure Microservices

A microservices-based application is split into small independent services that communicate with each other via APIs using lightweight protocols like HTTP, gRPC, Kafka and more. However, existing Linux network security mechanisms (e.g., iptables) only operate at the network and transport layers (i.e., IP addresses and ports) and lack visibility into the microservices layer.

Cilium brings API-aware network security filtering to Linux container frameworks like Docker and Kubernetes. Using a new Linux kernel technology called BPF, Cilium provides a simple and efficient way to define and enforce both network-layer and application-layer security policies based on container/pod identity.

We believe in a future where Linux has deep network visibility and control for microservice at the API layer, making applications more secure than ever before. If this goal excites you too, we invite you to join us by contributing ideas, code, and documentation to Cilium.

Identity Based Security
Cilium visibility and security policies are based on the container orchestrator identity (e.g., Kubernetes labels). Never again worry about network subnets or container IP addresses when writing security policies, auditing, or troubleshooting.
API-Protocol Visibility + Security
Traditional firewalls only see and filter packets based on network headers like IP address and ports. Cilium can do this as well, but also understands and filters the individual HTTP, gRPC, and Kafka requests that stitch microservices together.
Blazing Performance
BPF is the underlying Linux superpower to do the heavy lifting on the datapath by providing sandboxed programmability of the Linux kernel with incredible performance.
Designed for Scale
Cilium was designed for scale, with no node-to-node interactions required when new pods are deployed, and all coordination through a highly scalable key-value store.

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