Application connectivity for the hybrid cloud: Red Hat Connectivity Link

Red Hat used its annual conference Red Hat Summit 2024 to introduce the developer preview of Red Hat Connectivity Link, a hybrid multi cloud application connectivity technology that is said to provide a ‘cohesive platform for enhanced application performance’ and global scalability with robust security capabilities through simplified deployment and management processes. 

Based on the open source Kuadrant project, Connectivity Link builds on the capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift, a hybrid cloud application platform powered by Kubernetes. The technology itself adopts common Kubernetes patterns and open standards to support GitOps practices for more consistent, efficient and reliable workflows.

Application-level gateways

Because gateways play a pivotal role in application connectivity, with Kuadrant, platform engineers and application developers are offered a route to easily connect, secure and protect their services and infrastructure using its powerful policy Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An application-level gateway (ALG, also known as application layer gateway, application gateway, application proxy, or application-level proxy) is a security component that augments a firewall or NAT employed in a mobile network.

According to Christopher Ferreira, senior principal product manager, Red Hat, enterprises today are deploying services and applications to multiple Kubernetes clusters running in multiple datacentres, cloud providers and at the edge. As a result, platform engineers face the daunting task of configuring, managing and securing these connections while at the same time providing a self-service environment for the development teams they support.

“To meet these challenges, organizations have historically needed to implement individual tools for things like API management, service mesh and application networking,” wrote Ferreira, in a technical blog in line with Red Hat Summit 2024. “This may have been sufficient in more traditional VM-based environments; however, as distributed, container-based, multi-cluster application architectures have become the norm, this approach is no longer optimal over the long term. Many of the customers we work with understand this. They have experienced firsthand the frustration that this complexity brings in terms of setting up and running these environments, as well as managing the different tools. These challenges are driving a renewed focus on delivering value through integrated, unified solutions that enable platform engineers and application developers to more easily connect, protect and manage their services and infrastructure.”

Ferreira notes that Red Hat Connectivity Link brings all of this together under a central control plane and notable features include:

  • Multi-cluster ingress management provides unified management of ingress gateways across multiple clusters, leading to efficient and more seamless connectivity for applications across clusters, regardless of their deployment model or geographical location.
  • Global load balancing automatically configures DNS for domains associated with multi-cluster ingress gateways, optimizing performance and availability for a global user base.
  • Programmatic application and workload movement provides an automated mechanism to shift applications or workloads between clusters programmatically for better resource utilization, application scalability, and disaster recovery.
  • Rate limiting and API protection regulate the volume of API calls an individual user or system can make within a certain period. This protects the back end from being overwhelmed by too many requests and allows for more balanced use across all API consumers.
  • Authentication and authorization capabilities verify the identity of users and provide access to APIs accordingly.

Red Hat Connectivity Link is currently in developer preview, and is expected to be generally available later this year. 

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