SDN company goes open source

Midokura giving its product away to fill OpenStack gap

Japanese SDN company Midokura is giving away its keystone product.

Midokura is open sourcing its MidoNet network virtualization system in an effort to have it recognized as a – or the – default networking component in the OpenStack cloud orchestration system. But the company's initiative speaks to perhaps a larger issue with open source networking efforts, especially those driven by vendors.

Midokura says the Neutron networking component of OpenStack is fragmented by various vendor implementations attempting to supplant a technically inferior Open vSwitch (OVS) default. Analysts agree.

“I think OVS was the default/defacto network stack for OpenStack, and now Cisco, Midokura, (Juniper) Contrail, and others are hoping to become the dominant plug-in by addressing real Layer 4-7 functions that OVS did not, as well as doing Layer 2/3 better in the process,” says Christian Renaud, senior analyst at 451 Research. “That said, it’s still a small market, and I’ve had more than one networking vendor say that although they work with OS, they don’t see any business coming from it realistically for 12+ months. Then you have OpenDaylight and their OS plugin ideas, and now ONOS [the Open Network Operating System from ON.Lab.] It’s messy.”

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"OVS is the focus of a lot of effort within OpenStack’s Neutron project, and it’s possible that it will maintain primacy as the default networking implementation," says IDC's Brad Casemore. "Still, when you consider OpenStack and OpenDaylight, both under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, you can see that they’re vendor-led initiatives. What’s more, many of the vendors don’t want the raw open-source code to be useable on download. They want to take OpenStack, make it more robust, extend it with some additional features and functionality, and offer it as a largely vendor-specific offering. The whole plug-in architecture seems designed to condition that sort of outcome."

MidoNet is a distributed software-defined network product designed for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It is a de-centralized software overlay where network intelligence resides in the edge rather than in a centralized controller, which is the common architecture for SDNs.

MidoNet virtualizes the network for multi-tenant public and private cloud computing, and supports OpenStack for cloud computing virtualization, automation and orchestration. Its features include virtual Layer 2 distributed switching and isolation, virtual Layer 3 distributed routing and isolation, Layer 4 load balancing and firewall services, NAT, Access Control Lists, virtual port and device monitoring, RESTful APIs, and a Web-based management control panel.

Midokura is a contributor to OpenStack Neutron. But company officials say the OpenStack community hasn’t rallied around a single network driver in Neutron like they have Ceph as the storage driver.

As a result, vendors are more interested in selling their own networking technologies for OpenStack and have little incentive to invest in the default, which renders it unfit for production use, Midokura officials say. This, in turn, impacts OpenStack users by depriving them of an open, vendor-neutral network implementation similar to the computer and storage elements of the cloud framework, Midokura says.

So the company will offer MidoNet under an Apache 2.0 license. MidoNet developers will prioritize development of the open source version of the product – the version available from Midokura will be backfilled with advancements and upgrades and extensions developed first on the open source code.

Midokura will make its money on providing service and support, third-party developer integration, and selling MidoNet Manager Web-based centralized monitoring products for the open sourced MidoNet. The company will also continue to sell MidoNet wrapped in the management, integration, and service and support add-ons for enterprises desiring a turnkey implementation.

Two versions of this turnkey implementation will be available starting this week: Enterprise MidoNet will include a 1-year annual software subscription; MidoNet Manager; 1 year of 24x7 support and production SLA; 1 year of software updates; and database clusters. This will cost $1,899 per host.

The Enterprise MidoNet Proof-of-Concept Quickstart Bundle will cost $10,000 and include five MidoNet Enterprise hosts; a six-month software and support subscription of Enterprise MidoNet; six months of  24x7 support and SLA; six months of software updates; and three-day professional services.

MidoNet officials say they believe other vendors will follow suit with similar open sourcing, and service/support/integration/management strategies around networking for OpenStack.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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