Now that everyone is starting to get a better handle on exactly what the emerging OpenStack framework for managing clouds actually does, the focus is quickly turning towards what can actually be done with it.
At the OpenStack Summit 2012 conference this week, Midokura became one of the first vendors to deliver an OpenStack-compatible application for managing networks in cloud computing deployments at the Layer-2 level.
According to Ben Cherian, chief strategy officer at Midokura, one of the biggest practical challenges with cloud computing these days is that the network isn’t nearly as elastic as the virtual machines that run on modern servers. As a result, it can take a few minutes to provision a server and a few weeks to provision the network.
MidoNet takes that issue head on, says Cherian, by providing a software-defined network (SDN) overlay on top of any OpenStack-compatible piece of networking equipment. Based on technology that Midokura developed as part of an abandoned effort to be a cloud service provider, Cherian says MidoNet is the fruit of hard-won cloud computing experience. That experience led Midokura to develop an SDN approach that distributes intelligence to the edge of the network using software versus rival approaches that seek to embed SDN intelligence in a controller that makes a customer overly dependent on a specific type of switch from a particular vendor.
Obviously, Midokura is not the only vendor trying to combine OpenStack and SDN technologies to change the way networks are managed in the cloud. But it is one of the first instances of the combination of those technologies available. As such, it will be interesting to see how quickly IT organizations are willing to give up the command-line interfaces that have dominated network management for so long in favor of more modern approaches that are arguably long overdue.