Docker and Kubernetes in High Security Environments


This is brief summary of parts of my master’s thesis and the conclusions to draw from it. This medium-story focuses on containerized application isolation. The thesis also covers segmentation of cluster networks in Kubernetes which is not discussed in this story.

Container orchestration and cloud-native computing has gained lots of traction the recent years. The adoption has increased to such level that even enterprises in finance, banking and the public sector are interested. Compared to other businesses they differ by having extensive requirements on information security and IT security.

One important aspect is how containers could be used in production environments while maintaining system separation between applications. As such enterprises uses private clouds powered by bare-metal virtualization, the separation loss upon migrating to a container orchestrated environment is not negligible. It is in this scope that my thesis is written –with the Swedish Police Authority as the target client.

The specific research question that the thesis explores is the following:

How can Docker and Kubernetes support the separation of applications for the Swedish Police Authority compared with virtual machines powered by the bare-metal hypervisor ESXi?

That question has a lot to unwrap. To break this down, let’s start by looking in to the common denominator — the applications.

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