policy definition

1) In policy-based networking, a policy is a formal set of statements that define how the network's resources are to be allocated among its clients. Clients can be individual users, departments, host computers, or applications. Resources can be allocated based on time of day, client authorization priorities, availability of resources, and other factors. Allocation can be static or dynamic (based on variations in traffic). Policies and policy statements are created by network managers and stored in a policy repository. During network operation, the policies are retrieved and used by network management software to make decisions.

Ideally, policy statements can be written in natural language like this:

Give voice-over-IP users the highest priority.
Give teleconference users the next highest priority.
In practice, most policy-based networking software today requires specific knowledge of the network configuration and the use of a more artificial language.

2) In Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM), a policy is a set of statements used to guide HSM software about when to backup or archive files or to migrate them from one form of backup storage to another.

This was first published in April 2005

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