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Startup Midokura Uses Network Virtualization To Revolutionize The Enterprise Network

As any IT specialist knows, the move to virtualization and cloud computing is probably the single most important trend within the enterprise IT world. The cloud is not the only innovation coming out of the IT world however. Software defined networking – SDN – is also becoming increasingly prevalentwithin the enterprise. One innovative startup that is combining both trends – virtualization and SDN – is Midokura.

As any IT specialist knows, the move to virtualization and cloud computing is probably the single most important trend within the enterprise IT world. The cloud is not the only innovation coming out of the IT world however. Software defined networking – SDN – is also becoming increasingly prevalent within the enterprise. One innovative startup that is combining both trends – virtualization and SDN – is Midokura. If your company is considering making a major investment in physical hardware for your networking needs, you might want to consider Midokura’s network virtualization solution as an alternative. Joining us today to discuss Midokura’s offering further is the company’s cofounder Dan Mihai Dumitriu. 

IT Specialist Thank you for joining us today Dan. Can you provide some brief background on Midokura, such as what year you were started, how many total employees and office locations do you have? Also, were you the sole founder of Midokura?

Dan Midokura is a global company focused on network virtualization. Founded in 2010, the team has a pedigree including Amazon, Cisco, VMware and Google, and has spent more than three years building MidoNet, a complete overlay network virtualization solution that integrates with cloud platforms such as OpenStack. Midokura has offices in San Francisco, California, Tokyo, Japan and Barcelona, Spain. The company has about 50 employees today.  I am not the sole founder of the company. My co-founder is Tatsuya Kato.

IT Specialist What was the inspiration behind the founding of Midokura? Was there one ‘aha!’ moment or is this something you’ve been looking at for a long time?

Dan The company was started with a plan towards creating a cloud service, but we came upon a realization that a network offered the most challenges and opportunities in cloud computing that needed improvement.

IT Specialist Could you explain the difference between Software-Defined Networking and the idea of Network Virtualization that forms the basis for MidoNet technology? Where in the architecture MidoNet sits vis-à-vis SDN and actual physical networks?

Dan Software-Defined Networking is a concept that separates the control (decision on where to forward network packets) from the data plane (the actual forwarding of the data packets).  Network Virtualization is an application that is built upon SDN concepts.

IT Specialist Following up on the last question, I’ve seen articles that describe Midokura as bridging the gap to SDN – does this mean essentially that MidoNet helps IT to connect the traditional physical network to the virtual or overlay network? At a high level, can you explain the key problem you are trying to help solve for enterprise IT networking teams?

Dan I would not say that MidoNet is a transition or bridge product. MidoNet enables customers to create a virtualized overlay network without any specialized SDN hardware.  The key problem we are trying to solve is to enable users to flexibly create and configure their networks, and to overcome limitations in traditional networks, such as the number of VLANs.

IT Specialist Turning now to your core product MidoNet, can you explain in a nutshell what MidoNet is and how it works? As I understand it is a software only solution?

Dan MidoNet is a software-only network virtualization system that allows enterprises and service providers to build, run, and manage virtual networks.  It runs with a cloud controller platform such as OpenStack, and enables the creation of virtualized networks without any specialized hardware, as long as the hypervisor hosts have connectivity with other hosts.

Using industry standards and leveraging existing physical infrastructure, MidoNet reduces costs and improves stability, scalability and performance of networks. Here is a diagram:

 

 

IT Specialist There was one section on your website that I found particularly intriguing: “Running applications in virtual machines that are tied to a traditional physical networks is like putting a race car in a traffic jam. Using software to create virtual representations of your network devices and topology decouples your network from its hardware, and puts your application on the race track.” Can you provide a quick overview of what this means?

Dan It means that networking did not gain the flexibility that occurred when data centers virtualized servers.  Therefore, the highly agile virtual machine environment is held back from being even more flexible by limitations in networking.

IT Specialist Looking at the enterprise market, at a high level, have you found that most IT departments have already begun to move their networking infrastructure beyond their traditional physical network or not yet?

Not all IT departments in the enterprise have started to make the transition, but it is emerging. Many enterprises obviously use some forms of virtualization of network devices, like virtual switches as well as virtual appliances, but complete network virtualization of topology and devices is still in its early phases.

IT Specialist How long does it take an IT team to implement a Midokura solution and how easy – or challenging – is it for them? Do you offer professional services or post-sales support?

Dan Using MidoNet is very straightforward. The key issue is whether or not the IT staff is familiar with OpenStack. We do also offer professional services and support. 

IT Specialist What has been the overall reception to Midokura’s solution in the enterprise IT market and what type of response are you getting from the line IT networking managers you speak with?

Dan The reception has been good and many people are surprised to see that default networking in OpenStack cloud environments can be improved so rapidly. There’s a strong interest in SDN, with interest coming from both networking and server infrastructure managers with goals for CapEx and OpEx reduction.

IT Specialist In addition to enterprises and government, you also work with service providers as well? What types of service providers have you been speaking to?

Dan This is an important market for us.  Large and small scale service providers, with key issues to solve for multi-tenancy, tenant-controlled networking in an OpenStack environment have been keen to talk with us.

IT Specialist  Turning now to the corporate level, can you tell us how much money Midokura has raised and who your core investors are?

Dan Please refer to our prior press release for details.

http://www.midokura.com/press-releases/network-virtualization-innovator-midokura-secures-17-3-million-in-series-a-funding/

IT Specialist Finally, for enterprise IT pros who may be interested in testing the Midokura solution or beginning a dialogue with you, what is the best way for them to start working with you?

Dan We are currently offering a free trial of MidoNet. To register for the trial, please visit: http://www.midokura.com/signup/ or contact us at http://www.midokura.com/about-midokura/contact

IT Specialist Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Dan, and best of luck going forward.

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