Midokura Open Sources MidoNet Network Virtualization Platform

The startup is hoping to accelerate the development of the networking technologies within the OpenStack cloud orchestration solution.


Midokura, a 4-year-old startup in the highly competitive network virtualization space, is open sourcing its MidoNet solution in an effort to further accelerate the adoption and development of the networking technologies within the OpenStack cloud orchestration platform.

Midokura officials on Nov. 3 at the OpenStack Summit in Paris announced the company's plans to make MidoNet—the company's network overlay solution that sits atop the underlying physical infrastructure to enable network virtualization—available to the OpenStack community for free.

The MidoNet move comes less than a week after several other vendors—Plumgrid, Big Switch Networks and Mirantis—announced efforts to expand networking capabilities in OpenStack environments.

The push toward network virtualization and software-defined networking (SDN) is being hampered by vendors that are looking to embrace OpenStack but continue to sell proprietary products as part of the effort, according to Midokura General Manager Adam Johnson. By making MidoNet open and free to the community, Midokura is hoping to make the platform the default for the OpenStack Neutron networking technologies, creating a stable and cohesive base for others to build on.

Johnson compared the situation surrounding the networking work in Neutron with that of block storage drivers, where the community has embraced the Ceph platform. The OpenStack community has not shown the same affinity for any particular networking technologies; Open vSwitch has gotten most of the support, but a broad array of other solutions on the market from such vendors as Cisco Systems, VMware, Big Switch, Juniper Networks, Brocade and Midokura also are seeing interest.

"What that says to us is that there is a lot of fragmentation," Johnson told eWEEK. "People are not satisfied with Open vSwitch."

That fragmentation has hindered the development of OpenStack, which Midokura has hitched its fortunes to.

"We need to have OpenStack be very successful for us to be successful," Johnson said.

Midokura officials hope to ease the fragmentation by open sourcing MidoNet. Starting Nov. 3, all of the MidoNet code will be available under the Apache 2.0 license at www.midonet.org and the source code will be available at github.com/midonet.

Through this effort, Midokura is enabling anyone within the OpenStack community to use, distribute and build upon the technology. The company also will be looking for developers to give back to the project, and is planning to drive a non-vendor community around an open MidoNet, Johnson said.

The community initially will be run by Midokura, but he said eventually the company wants hand over control to another party, such as the OpenStack Foundation or the OpenDaylight Project, or to create a new organization around the technology. That decision will be left to the MidoNet community, Johnson said.

The founding members of the community include Fujitsu, Mellanox Technologies, Red Hat, Canonical, Suse, 8x8 and StratoScale.

Among the MidoNet code that is now open sourced and free are virtual Level 2 distributed switching, virtual L3 distributed routing, distributed L4 servers—including load balancing and firewalls—OpenStack integration, RESTful APIs, deployment tools and automated testing tools.