How MidoNet is virtualizing open source networks

Scalable open virtual networking with MidoNet

Posted 27 Jan 2015 by 

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Networking is an important part of any modern datacenter. As open source continues to grow in virtualization solutions, virtualized networking is an important part of the picture. MidoNet, an open source network virtualization platform for Infrastructure-as-a-serivice (IaaS) clouds like OpenStack cloud software, is gaining traction as a way to implement networking solutions.

What is MidoNet?

MidoNet is a production-grade network virtualization solution that allows operators to build isolated networks in software that overlays the existing hardware-based network infrastructure. It addresses the shortcomings in OpenStack Neutron by replacing the default Open vSwitch (OVS) plugin with the MidoNet plugin.

Modern distributed applications have unique networking and security requirements to ensure application availability and performance.

It is often a challenge for network administrators to keep up with new infrastructure requests or make changes to support rapid prototyping and continuous delivery. Designed for distributed computing, MidoNet can provides per-tenant network control of the network to create and change network topologies on the fly.

Why open source?

The benefits of open source software development for customers are evident. Cross-vendor collaborative engineering led to technological breakthroughs, code stability through peer reviews and rapid issue identification and resolution. Midokura made a strategic decision to open source its software to address the fragmentation in the networking industry. The decision to give away fours years of engineering to the open source community was deliberate with far reaching implications.

Midokura Enterprise MidoNet is already a proven, scalable virtual networking solution for leading service providers like KVH Asia and Zetta.IO. It was apparent to Midokura that multiple networking vendors were trying to sell proprietary solutions and have little to no incentive to invest in the default configuration in OpenStack. This means that networking remains unfit for large-scale production and could hinder broad adoption of OpenStack in the enterprise. Leaving customers without an open source networking solution or having to choose amongst competing “open” standards when adopting a fully open source cloud project like OpenStack did not make much sense to Midokura.

MidoNet is modeled after other open source communities like Ubuntu and OpenStack. MidoNet gained initial support from the leading semiconductor vendors active in the Linux open source communities like Fujitsu and Broadcom and Ethernet and infiniband vendors like Mellanox. Industry analysts made commentary about the adoption of OpenStack closely mirroring to that of Linux. MidoNet parallels OpenStack adoption as evidenced by the top three Linux distributions (Red Hat, Canonical/Ubuntu, and SUSE) getting onboard at the onset. Much like some of the other open source projects, it is no surprise to see the first wave of adopters coming from large-scale cloud providers like IDC Frontier (subsidiary of Yahoo Japan) and HP Helion Eucalyptus and regional cloud providers like Zetta.io in Norway and KVH Asia.

The governance of the MidoNet project is with the Midokura company. As the MidoNet community and code contribution grows, Midokura expects that the governance of MidoNet to be left up to the community over time.

Midokura: the company behind MidoNet

Midokura was established in 2010, a pioneer in scalable network virtualization with a software-based overlay approach onto physical network fabric. After launching MidoNet network virtualization platform in 2013, MidoNet has been proven in production at global enterprises like Nokia and Toshiba and in web scale companies like Blue Jeans Networks. Midokura has released the MidoNet codebase to the open source community under the Apache 2.0 license in November 2014. With its distributed architecture, MidoNet allows enterprises and service providers to build, run, and manage virtual networks at scale with agility, security, and flexibility.

How to get involved with MidoNet?

MidoNet users are actively driving feature requests into future releases of MidoNet through formal and informal communications vehicles like mailing lists, IRC channels, and online meetups. Reviewing documentation, reporting bugs are just simple ways to become familiar with the code. Doing platform benchmarking gives operators direct access to witness the performance of Midokura in their own test/dev environment. Contributing code is relatively straightforward and similar to onboarding with Ubuntu and OpenStack. Simply sign a Contributor License Agreement and code contributions to Gerritt are automatically checked by Jenkins. Peer reviews and voting is also done through Gerrit.

In a relatively short amount of time, MidoNet is getting strong uptake from the global community as seen in the daily downloads and in the discussions on IRC.

MidoNet’s code is generally available today for customers, partners and developers as open source under the Apache 2.0 software license. You can visit Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) for additional details.

To learn more about MidoNet, consider attending the OpenStack Online Meetup on Wednesday. Learn about the importance of distributed architectures for OpenStack networking, critical considerations when selecting a networking provider, and installation guidelines for a basic proof of concept and production deployments based on actual customer use cases.

Based out of San Francisco, Adam Johnson is a founding member at Midokura. He has built and manages the Global Technical Services organization, and started the US office for Midokura. Prior to joining Midokura, Adam was founder and COO of Genkii, doing strategic consulting and development for social media and virtual worlds, with a focus on open source solutions.Adam has been advising and working with a number of startups over the last 8 years.