Midokura adds Layer 2 gateways to network overlay; joins OpenDaylight

Midokura added a Layer 2 software gateway to its network overlay and will add hardware gateways soon. It also joined the OpenDaylight Project.

Network virtualization overlay vendor Midokura added software-based Layer 2 services gateways to its overlay and promised top-of-rack gateway support in the near future.

Tokyo-based Midokura also announced it is joining the OpenDaylight Project in an effort to create a de facto standard for interfacing between virtual overlays and physical networks.  

Midokura's product, MidoNet, is a network virtualization overlay distinguished by the distributed control plane that resides on each of its software agents, whereas other overlays from Juniper Networks, VMware and Nuage Networks rely on a central controller.

Layer 2 software gateway, ToR switches later

Midokura's Layer 2 gateway will enable customers to integrate non-virtualized infrastructure into the MidoNet overlay, according Adam Johnson, general manager for Midokura.

"We have a cloud service provider customer in Japan that has exhausted their VLANs [virtual local area networks] for their public cloud service infrastructure, so we offered them a Layer 2 gateway with the particular idea of creating a hybrid system so their legacy system can remain intact and they can keep scaling out the cloud by using the gateways, bridging that into a MidoNet network," Johnson said.

"In the MidoNet distributed switch, you would create ports bound to the physical VLAN and we take care of high availability and failover," he said. "Those VLAN-aware bridge ports can be placed anywhere on the MidoNet system. You just choose a Linux interface on the x86 server and it can act as the endpoint."

A Layer 2 software gateway gives customers the functionality to connect non-virtualized infrastructure into an overlay, but it does not offer high performance. VMware highlighted this issue when it announced an array of hardware gateway partners for NSX. Various switch vendors promised VXLAN gateway functionality and virtual tunnel endpoint support on top-of-rack switches to enable high-performance NSX gateways. Midokura will emulate VMware's approach with its own group of partners.

"The interface we will use is the OVS-DB interface that VMware recently opened up," Johnson said. "We suspect that it will become kind of a standard for that feature, since [several switch vendors] have already implemented it."

"They handle a lot of their processing at the edge anyway, so when you look at being able to do things like integrate with OVS-DB-capable switches at the edge, you could bolt up to a range of things," said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at New York-based 451 Research. "They don't have a requirement to create tunnels and all the complexity of lots of interconnected tunnels because they have this distributed hash table for forwarding control."

OpenDaylight for overlay-underlay integration

Midokura joined the SDN open source OpenDaylight Project as a silver member in order to push for a de facto standard interface between virtual overlays and physical infrastructure, Johnson said.

"We joined OpenDaylight with the intention to collaborate for a standard underlay controller," he said. "We believe very strongly that while an overlay solution can provide deep value for Infrastructure as a Service and other virtualization use cases, you can't ignore the physical network. We need to have a standard interface for getting information from the underlay, managing the configurations and doing things like traffic engineering, as well as troubleshooting and operations. This is one step toward building out some standards-based APIs [application programming interfaces] so this could be managed much more easily."

Another overlay pricing model

MidoNet also announced its list price for the MidoNet overlay. Customers will pay $500 annually per host running its software, including hypervisor edge hosts and gateway node hosts. This contrasts with the $1,000 per socket that Juniper charges annually for Contrail. VMware has not yet announced pricing for NSX.

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