Home > Articles

Distributed Services Platform - An Introduction

Introduces the need for a Distributed Services Platform in your cloud infrastructure that offers superior security, cloudlike scale, hardware performance, and low latency and yet be software programmable.

Save 35% off the list price* of the related book or multi-format eBook (EPUB + MOBI + PDF) with discount code ARTICLE.
* See informit.com/terms

This chapter is from the book

In the last ten years, we have observed an increasingly rapid transition from monolithic servers to virtualization. Initially, this happened inside enterprise networks, creating the need for virtual networking, but it has quickly evolved into modern cloud architectures that add the dimension of multitenancy and, with multitenancy, increased demand for security. Each user requires network services, including firewalls, load balancers, virtual private networks (VPNs), microsegmentation, encryption, and storage, and needs to be protected from other users.

This trend is very evident in cloud providers, but even larger enterprises are structuring their networks as private clouds and need to secure network users from each other.

Software-based services are often the solution. The server CPU implements a Distributed Services Architecture in software. A virtual machine or a container comprises the software that implements the service architecture. All network traffic goes through this software and, after the appropriate processing, packets are delivered to their final destinations (other virtual machines or containers). Similar processing happens on the reverse path.

A pure software solution is limited in performance, and it has high latency and jitter. Moreover, it is very problematic in bare-metal environments where the entire server is dedicated to a user or an application, and there is no place to run the services architecture.

  • A distributed services platform is a set of components unified by a management control plane that implements standard network services, such as stateful firewall, load balancing, encryption, and overlay networks, in a distributed, highly scalable way with high performance, low latency, and low jitter. It has no inherent bottleneck and offers high availability. Each component should be able to implement and chain together as many services as possible, avoiding unnecessary forwarding of packets between different boxes that perform different functions. The management control plane provides role-based access to various functions and is itself implemented as a distributed software application.

We offer a new term, distributed services node (DSN), to describe the entity running various network and security services. A DSN can be integrated into existing network components such as NICs (network interface cards), switches, routers, and appliances. The architecture also allows for a software implementation of the DSN, even though only hardware is capable of providing the security and performance needed by today’s networks.

Keeping DSNs closer to applications provides better security; however, DSNs should be ideally implemented at a layer that is immune to application, operating system, or hypervisor compromise.

Having multiple DSNs, as distributed as possible, increases scalability dramatically and effectively removes bottlenecks.

This architecture is practical only in the presence of a management system capable of distributing and monitoring service policies to all DSNs.

Figure 1-1 provides a graphical representation of a distributed services platform.


FIGURE 1-1 A Distributed Services Platform

1.1 The Need for a Distributed Services Platform

A real distributed services platform should solve not only performance issues but should also provide:

  • A consistent services layer common to bare-metal servers, virtual machines, and containers

  • Pervasive security without any entitlements within the perimeter; that is, decouple security from network access

  • A security solution that is immune to compromised OSes or hypervisors

  • Services orchestration and chaining to simplify management while enabling the delivery of different combinations of services

  • Better utilization of resources, higher performance, lower latency, and latency isolation

  • Tools capable of troubleshooting the network flows going through multiple services

  • Built-in telemetry for edge-to-edge network troubleshooting, rather than debugging individual systems, applications and segments, to give the infrastructure the ability to proactively report potential issues and offending actors

  • A comprehensive set of infrastructure services that are easy to manage and that can be used together, including features such as microsegmentation, load balancing, a firewall, encryption service, storage virtualization, and infrastructure services such as RDMA and TCP/TLS proxy

  • Programmability in the management, control, and data planes so that software-defined features can be rolled out without requiring hardware swapout or extended hardware development and release cycles

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020