Dan DWe recently sat down with the CEO of Midokura, Dan Mihai Dumitriu, as their company makes the switch from the product development stage to the go-to- market stage. Midokura began as an IaaS cloud service in 2009. In exchange for an investment with Bit-Isle, Midokura began working on building the software capabilities for Bit-Isle’s data centers. While building network virtualization software necessary to provide their service, Midokura recognized the value of the software itself. With this insight, they shifted from a service-based company, to a product-based software company. The end result is Midonet, which offers network virtualization for infrastructure as a service.

They began development before SDN became a widely used term in the industry. Today, the phrase SDN is a very general term which typically refers to using a centralized OpenFlow protocol to communicate. However, Midonet takes a higher level approach using overlay technology on top of an IP-connected network. They strongly embrace decentralization, eliminating single points of failure or bottlenecks.

The past ten years has seen massive virtualization of servers to the point where more than fifty percent of workloads are running on virtualized infrastructure. From a business point of view this is more optimal, bringing efficiency and operational simplicity. For example, backing up a virtual machine is now a trivial process as opposed to the painstaking process of backing up a hardwired server. It also builds a more efficient system since by running more virtualization on a single physical host, utilization is increased and capital expenditure recuperated.

When questioned whether Midonet is unique in its overlay approach, Dan Mihai Dumitriu says that overlay and encapsulation, per se, are not the full story. Midonet’s innovation lies in the distributed nature of the software. Dumitriu explains, “our software is like a distributed control plane that runs on all these servers, and dynamically decides how to encapsulate traffic.” In other words, it decides which tunnels to create and tear down automatically. Midonet embraces decentralization more strongly than their competitors. In addition to robust design, Midonet has a higher number of network services that are built directly into their software. Other products depend on downloading third party tools in order to get many of the features that MidoNet already has built in. These services include Layer 2 virtual switching, Layer 3 routing, Layer 4 filtering and firewalls. In the future more features will continue to be added, such as Layer 7 load balancing. 92254_MidokuraLogoHorizontalcopy

Midonet’s decentralized approach allows for self-service IT. These changes will mold IT into something resembling the buyer-seller demands of a common marketplace. Dumitriu describes how companies will benefit from these changes by enabling self-service IT, which will enable the IT departments to become more lean. Rather than waiting for a central host to make the changes for you, the service can be manipulated by the person using Midonet – allowing them to utilize necessary specifications for changing day-to-day operations.

Midokura is looking to work with enterprises that are building private clouds as well as public cloud providers. The Midonet software will help virtualize networks by building up enterprises’ already existing internal infrastructure. The product also allows cloud providers to make their physical infrastructure more robust by no longer relying on ethernet technologies.

Midokura is expanding their market with the help of investment from DoCoMo Ventures, a subsidiary of NTT Docomo. Japan is an exciting market for network virtualization, but the Midokura team is global, with an American co-founder. Their sights are also set on further expanding the USA market, with an increasingly keen eye on global markets.

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