Policy in code


The oslo.policy library now supports handling policies in a way similar to how oslo.config handles config options. We can switch our policy handling to keep default policy settings in the code, with the policy file only necessary for overriding the defaults.

By having default policies in code, this allows:

  1. Simplified deployment and upgrades since config files don’t need to change that don’t modify defaults.

  2. Easier maintenance of policy files since they only have overridden policies.

  3. A programmatic way to generate policy documentation and samples similar to how we handle config options.

Problem description

There have been bugs in the past from either new features adding the wrong policy settings, or for getting policy settings all together. For admins it can also be difficult configuring policies due to many policy settings that are never changed making locating the desired setting harder.

This would simplify our policy.json file by only needing to have those entries that differ from the defaults. It would also allow us to generate a sample policy file similar to how we do for karbor.conf to show all the possible settings with the defaults commented out for easy reference.

Use Cases

As a deployer I would like to configure only policies that differ from the default.

Proposed change

Starting with oslo.policy 1.9.0 [0], policies can be declared in the code with provided defaults and registered with the policy engine.

Any policy that should be checked in the code will be registered with the policy.Enforcer object, similar to how configuration registration is done. Any policy check within the code base will be converted to use a new policy.Enforcer.authorize method to ensure that all checks are defined. Any attempt to use a policy that is not registered will raise an exception.

Registration will require two pieces of data:

  1. The rule name, e.g. “plan:get”

  2. The rule, e.g. “rule:admin_or_owner” or “role:admin”

The rule name is needed for later lookups. The rule is necessary in order to set the defaults and generate a sample file.

A third optional description can also be provided and should be used in most cases so it is available in any generated sample policy files.

We can then use this code to add a job that will generate a sample policy.json file showing the commented out defaults directly from the code base.

[0] https://github.com/openstack/oslo.policy/blob/1.9.0/doc/source/usage.rst#registering-policy-defaults-in-code


Stick with our manually configured policy file that has no checks or full reference for possible policy enforceable settings.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact

None. Although this touches our policy handling, this just enables preemptive policy checks and does not change the way we handle policy enforcement.

Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

There will be slightly more work done at service startup time as policies are registered, which should be a very small impact. Policy checking at run time may become slightly faster due to having a smaller policy file to read before each check.

Other deployer impact

End user admins will no longer need to have all settings defined in the policy.json file, only those that they want different than the defaults.

Developer impact

Any policies added to the code should be registered before they are used.



Primary assignee:


Work Items

  • Define and register all policies.

  • Switch policy checks to use new method.

  • Update Devstack to not expect policy.json file.

  • Update deployer documentation.

  • Update tox genconfig target to also generate sample policy file.


Current requirements are for oslo.policy >= 1.9.0, so no extra dependencies are required.


If done correctly, no additional or different testing should be required. Existing tests should detect if there are any changes in the expected policy behavior.

Documentation Impact

Documentation should be updated to state that only policies which are changes to the default policy will be needed when configuring policy settings.

Updates will also be made to our devref documentation describing the process for generating the sample policy file.