Much like its competitors, Midokura's approach embraces many of the general principles of SDN, including the abstraction of the physical network and software-driven provisioning of network services. But it doesn't rely on a centralized controller or the use of the OpenFlow protocol to communicate. Instead, it creates a virtual network overlay on top of an IP-connected network. According to the company, that is all MidoNet requires of the network: IP connectivity.
The company believes everything else can and should be handled in the software, and in true SDN fashion, the underlying physical network does not need to change. This also means there is no reason to be locked into a single hardware vendor, allowing an organization to easily operate their network with a mix of multiple hardware providers.
Midokura's implementation takes advantage of commoditized x86 hardware running a MidoNet agent that connects back to an Open vSwitch that is deployed on a Linux-based host. Each host would then become a node in the MidoNet virtual overlay network, and each would be capable of a variety of roles, including Layer 2-4 service policies. The MidoNet software is deployed at the edge of the network and connected to a customer's aggregation router. Flows are then routed through the overlay network using P2P tunnels between every other MidoNet agent endpoint, creating a fully meshed virtual network topology.
Rather than using OpenFlow, the company opted to create its own proprietary bidirectional protocol to communicate with its endpoints. Midokura has also chosen to stay away from existing protocol-based virtualization efforts such as VXLAN and NVGRE, instead using its own tenant ID to provide the isolation required to implement multitenant support.
Midokura's OpenStack relationship includes full integration of MidoNet with the OpenStack Essex release, as well as Quantum plug-ins and Nova network drivers for use with OpenStack based clouds. The company said its MidoNet distributed virtual networking platform takes care of all of the existing networking functions currently found in OpenStack, such as floating IPs, Security Groups, Layer-2 Isolation, and intertenant routing, as well as necessary provider functions like BGP routing and gateway failover.
In addition to OpenStack support, the company plans to integrate with other cloud stack solutions down the road in order to remain cloud agnostic. For example, Midokura is actively working on integration with the open source CloudStack.
MidoNet is currently in limited beta, but it is expected to become generally available within a few short months. Company officials stated they would publicly release pricing at that time.
This article, "Midokura launches network virtualization solution for IaaS," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.