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Midokura Beefs Up Cloud Support

Mitch Wagner
2/25/2015
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Midokura has added broader support for VMware, Red Hat and OpenStack in the latest release of its Enterprise MidoNet SDN software.

Expanding and updating support for key virtualization and open source developments should help boost interest in Midokura 's SDN product in what is a crowded and highly competitive market.

The virtual networking software is based on Midokura's open source MidoNet SDN overlay software and is designed for use by cloud service providers, enterprises and carriers providing managed services. It includes a GUI, analytics tools, service and 24x7 support.

The GUI and analytics tools gather information from across the virtual and physical network to provide metrics including performance, utilization and flow analysis, says Dan Mihai Dumitriu, co-founder and CEO of Midokura.

The latest version supports VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) vSphere, Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 6 and additional OpenStack support. New features include:

  • Support for the OpenStack Juno release.
  • Enhancements for OpenStack Neutron, including load-balancing-as-a-service, to allow cloud providers to offer each tenant load balancing using OpenStack Horizon UI.
  • Support for managing both vSphere (VMware's server virtualization tool) and OpenStack more consistently with a single MidoNet instance.
  • MidoNet Manager supports BGP Configuration, to simplify configuration of BGP gateways, adding or taking down gateways to support new services or adjust capacity.
  • MidoNet Manager Layer 4 Load Balancer simplifies adding load balancers to resource pools, and provides automated load balancer health checks.

The new version is available immediately, with free 30-day software evaluation including enterprise-grade 24/7 support, documentation, hardened packages and the MidoNet Manager GUI.

Midokura's business model is similar to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Cloudera Inc. Hadoop -- open source products with proprietary extensions and support layered on top, says VP Business Adam Johnson.

Midokura initially set out to launch as a Japanese service provider, and built SDN software for its own use, says Dumitriu. "Midonet as a product grew out of our own needs for network virtualization," he says.

Initial customers were cloud service providers, which broadened into enterprises, carriers doing managed services and cloud providers.

The company made the drastic move of offering its flagship product as open source code in November last year following demand from the OpenStack community. "They sent strong signals that open source was strongly preferred for infrastructure," Dumitriu says. (See Midokura Open Sources Its Virtual Network .)

The change paid off in a few ways, according to the CEO. Open source users provide valuable engineering feedback for testing and quality of services and hopefully will provide development and integration assistance, he says.

Open sourcing MidoNet and the free trial for Enterprise MidoNet speeds up the sales cycle. By the time a potential customer talks to a Midokura salesperson, the customer has already tried out the software, Dumitriu says. "The inbound sales leads in the past two months have easily exceeded last year's," Johnson says. Part of that uptick is improvement in the cloud market itself but open sourcing also helped, Dumitriu says. The open source Midonet software has been downloaded about 2,000 times.

Midokura won a $17 million Series A funding round in April 2013, and received strategic investment from Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY) last year, along with a sales and product partnership. The company is looking to do a second funding round, about double the size of the first, within the next year, from a wider pool of investors. Current investors are all Japanese, and the company will be looking for more international backing to help with business development outside that country, Dumitriu says. (See Midokura Announces $17.3M in Series A Funding and Midokura, Fujitsu Partner on Cloud Tools.)

About half of Midokura's unspecified sales are from the US, half from Europe and Japan. The company started in Tokyo, but business shifted to the US, which is where the current market opportunities exist, notes Johnson.


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Midokura considers its main competitor to be VMware NSX, with competition also from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR)'s Contrail, and, in the telco market, PlumGrid Inc. and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s Nuage Networks , Dumitriu says.

VMware is focused on its own ecosystem, which gives Midokura's native OpenStack support a competitive edge with OpenStack customers, Johnson says. While VMware recently added support for OpenStack, the support is on an API level, to allow VMware customers to manage OpenStack using VMware management tools. (See VMware Laughs at Container & OpenStack Threats.)

"I think that's kind of a ploy," Dumitriu says.

He also sees an advantage over Juniper's Contrail SDN controller, which Dumitriu says is integrated with the IP vendor's own hardware platform. "They're the only other open source option out there, but they're tied to their own hardware," Johnson says. "They were getting a lot of bake-offs or PoCs -- customers only have the bandwidth to do two or three tests, and Contrail was getting a few because they're open source. But since we open-sourced we kicked them aside," Johnson boasts.

MidoNet doesn't require modifications to the Linux kernel, whereas PLUMgrid does, Dumitriu says. "It's a minor technical thing but it makes a difference to support." Moreover, Dumitriu claims MidoNet is simpler to deploy, with distributed Layer 4 applications such as a NAT and firewall, whereas Layer 4 applications require virtual machines with Juniper's set-up, creating a bottleneck. "At some point, customers notice these things and take note of them. We're well positioned for the use cases we address," Dumitriu says.

More on Midokura:

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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