Why Kyverno Beats Open Policy Agent as the Most Adaptable Policy Engine For Kubernetes

Why Kyverno Beats Open Policy Agent as the Most Adaptable Policy Engine For Kubernetes

As cloud-native technology and the practice of CI/CD continue to skyrocket in popularity amongst enterprise organizations, it’s increasingly important that the underlying digital infrastructure is capable of supporting this workload. The pandemic and its subsequent effects on remote work are only increasing the importance of container orchestration and containerization as a service. Reports show that nearly 70% of IT professionals increased their Kubernetes use during the last 18 months of rolling lockdowns. 

But as large organizations become more and more reliant on container software, these intricate systems become increasingly exposed —both in terms of cyber security and internal human error. Policy management engines are now the gold standard when it comes to filling in the security and compliance gaps that arise as companies adopt Kubernetes. 

Among these tools are Open Policy Agent (OPA), as well as Kyverno – the policy management engine created by Nirmata and open-sourced to the CNCF

Kyverno for Kubernetes Policy Management

Currently sitting at over 6 million downloads, Kyverno is the de facto option when it comes to policy management in Kubernetes environments. From its native-language coding to its default security and GitOps-style workflow, Kyverno merges seamlessly with Kubernetes to improve the policy side of container management. Implementation of this system in Kubernetes-predominant (or exclusive) multi-cloud application environments allows enterprises to drastically improve their Day 2 Operations while maintaining the flexible and extensible nature of Kubernetes. 

Here are some of the key functionalities that Kyverno provides for those managing enterprise Kubernetes environments: 

Validate: The primary function of any solid policy management engine is confirming that all resource configurations are compliant and secure. Kyverno’s validate function allows high-level IT stakeholders to ensure that their DevOps and security teams are navigating their role securely and according to the cloud-native best practices. 

Mutate: Given the dynamic nature of digital infrastructure and cloud services, enterprise IT departments are constantly updating their policy requests to maintain the proper use of resources in every environment. Kyverno’s mutation function automates the adjustment of these requests so they are in accordance with validation rules. Instead of simply rejecting non-compliant requests, the mutate function tacitly adjusts them to an acceptable format.  

Generate: A feature exclusive to Kyverno, generate rules allow for the creation of supplementary and supporting policies in the event that a new policy is created (or an existing one is updated). This feature is highly customizable and allows for the generation of resources at multiple levels within a Kubernetes cluster. For instance, NetworkPolicies and RoleBindings can be generated as supporting resources within a specific Namespace. 

These core functionalities endow IT departments with the ability to perform their development, operations, and security tasks more efficiently. Here are a few of the specific instances where companies can leverage the validate, mutate, and generate functions of Kyverno:

  • Automated, standardized setting of crucial metadata using the Resource Annotator
  • The ability to Inject Sidecars and have them run decoupled from container-level logic
  • Resource Padlock functionality that improves upon Role-Based Access Controls and improves security and compliance at a sub-namespace level
  • Consolidated, standardized, and complete namespace provisioning that requires no additional coding to run

However, as powerful as these Kyverno functions are, enterprise Kubernetes environments are complex enough to require additional support. The learning curve involved with setting up this policy engine is dramatically reduced by its Kubernetes-native language and design, but achieving optimal results from Kyverno is a challenge in its own right. 

Nirmata’s Cloud Native Policy Management for Kubernetes Service

Despite the numerous benefits that Kyverno affords to DevOps and security teams, maintaining an optimal production environment across multi-cloud and multi-tenant environments requires an experienced touch. This is where Nirmata’s Cloud Native Policy Management becomes an immense value-add to your system. The Nirmata team has intimate knowledge of Kyverno’s inner workings and combines this expertise with industry best practices in both container and policy resource management. The process of continuous compliance is born from this combination. 

Continuous Compliance with Kyverno

Continuous compliance within Kubernetes environments is crucial to maintaining successful enterprise operations within multi-cloud systems. This process is the foundation of Nirmata’s Policy Manager service, providing all enterprise IT professionals and administrators with the guidelines they need to maintain CI/CD. Here’s how Nirmata leverages Kyverno to provide your enterprise with continuous compliance: 


Automating policy resources is key for the container software space and PaC is the ideal way to achieve it. The Kubernetes-native language of Kyverno and best practices knowledge of the Nirmata team combine for a robust resource set that takes security and compliance to a new level of efficacy. 

In-Cluster Admission Controls 

Role-based access controls simply aren’t enough. Continuous compliance requires that enterprises have the ability to perform key Validate, Mutate, and Generate functions at all levels within a cluster. Nirmata and Kyverno allow IT departments to implement these key controls. 

Dynamic Configuration 

Two major issues in the enterprise cloud-services space are these: Secure self-service access and delays in configuration changes. By automating both of these processes via comprehensive policy resources, Kyverno and Nirmata allow for more dynamic configuration control.

Promoting DevSecOps Methodology

The information asymmetry and siloing that exists between development, operations, and security components of the IT department are a burden to both efficiency and overall safety. Policy Manager with Nirmata promotes a new IT landscape, DevSecOps, where customizable reports, guidelines, and scoring systems integrate these three key components to ensure secure CI/CD.

If you’re ready to level up your enterprise Kubernetes environment with a robust policy management system or want to learn more about how Nirmata and Kyverno are revolutionizing enterprise performance within multi-cloud application environments, get in touch with us today!

Learn how to successfully migrate from Open Policy Agent to Kyverno!



image source:  https://unsplash.com/photos/EUsVwEOsblE

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