Open Policy Agent with Torin Sandall

Policies define which users and applications can access and modify resources in a computer system.

In a file system, a user might have permission to read or write to a file. In a cloud infrastructure deployment, a user might have the rights to deploy a new server. One microservice may or may not have the necessary permissions to talk to another microservice. All of these are use cases where a “policy” defines the behavior within a computer system.

Policies in a company can be managed in a range of ways: configuration files, dashboards, and centralized permissions databases. A policy engine is a system for managing and automating the policy creation and deployment within an organization.

Microservices need to verify each request that comes in to ensure that the request has the correct permissions. To check those permissions, a microservice can contact the policy engine. The policy engine has all the information from the whole organization about who is allowed to do what. However, talking to the policy engine over the network can be a slow process.

Open Policy Agent is a deployable agent that can run as a sidecar next to a service, and check policies by looking inside of a cache. Torin Sandall is a core committer to the Open Policy Agent project, and he joins the show to talk about policy management, the Open Policy Agent, and the Kubernetes ecosystem (and surprisingly, WebAssembly).


Transcript provided by We Edit Podcasts. Software Engineering Daily listeners can go to to get 20% off the first two months of audio editing and transcription services. Thanks to We Edit Podcasts for partnering with SE Daily. Please click here to view this show’s transcript.


Jaspersoft offers embeddable reports, dashboards, and data visualizations that developers love. Give users intuitive access to data in the ideal place for them to take action—within your application. To check out Jaspersoft, go to and find out how easy it is to embed reporting and analytics into your application.

OpenShift is a Kubernetes platform from Red Hat. OpenShift takes the Kubernetes container orchestration system and adds features that let you build software more quickly. OpenShift includes service discovery, CI/CD, built-in monitoring and health management, and scalability. With OpenShift, you avoid getting locked into any particular cloud provider. Check out OpenShift from RedHat, by going to

Digital Ocean is the easiest cloud platform to run and scale your application. Try it out today and get a free $100 credit–go to Digital Ocean is a complete cloud platform to help developers and teams save time when running and scaling their applications.

GoCD is a continuous delivery tool created by ThoughtWorks. It’s great to see the continued progress on GoCD with the new Kubernetes integrations–and you can check it out for yourself at

Software Weekly

Software Weekly

Subscribe to Software Weekly, a curated weekly newsletter featuring the best and newest from the software engineering community.