Virtual networking was a key theme at this week’s OpenStack Summit in Paris. We saw keynotes addressing it, panels with leading Telco experts on it, and dedicated sessions on emerging open standards such as OpenNFV.
Telco inherently posses more challenging environments and networking needs, with elaborate inter-connectivity and service chaining, which the Neutron project has not yet adequately addressed. We also see open standards emerging in the industry around SDN and NFV, most notably OpenDaylight, which OpenStack foundation still haven’t decided how to address in collaboration and complementary fashion. It would become even trickier in light of competing open standards such as the ON.Lab’s Open Network Operating System (ONOS) which was announced just this week.
This lack of standardization in SDN & NFV for OpenStack presents an opportunity for different vendors to offer an open source solution in attempt to take the lead in that area, similarly to the way Ceph took the lead and ultimately became the de-facto standard for OpenStack block storage. On this week’s summit we saw two announcements tackling this gap of SDN for OpenStack: both Akanda and Midokura announced their open source products in compatibility with OpenStack.
Midokura decided to open source it’s core asset MidoNet which provides Layer-2 overlay aiming to replace the default OVS plugin from OpenStack. Midokura is targeting OpenStack community, making its source code available as part of Ubuntu’s OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL). OpenStack is also clearly targeted in their announcement:
MidoNet is a highly distributed, de-centralized, multi-layer software-defined virtual network solution and the industry’s first truly open vendor-agnostic network virtualization solution available today for the OpenStack Community.
Akanda on the other hand was an open-source project from the beginning. Akanda focuses on Layer-3 virtual routing on top of VMware NSX’s Layer 2 overlay, with support for OpenDaylight and OpenStack. In fact Akanda is a sort of a spin-out of DreamHost, the company that spun-out Inktank and brought about Ceph (acquired by RedHat in April). Will they be able to achieve same success with Akanda in Networking as they did with Ceph in Storage?
Telco operators such as AT&T, Huawei and Vodafone are pushing the OpenStack Foundation and community to address the needs of the Telecommunications domain and industry. The OpenStack framework has reached enough maturity in its core projects and ecosystem to be able to address the more complex networking challenges and requirements. Backed by the network operators and network equipment providers (NEPs), and with the right collaboration with other open-source projects in the SDN and NFV domains, I expect it shall be on the right path to offer a leading virtualization platform for Telco and Enterprise alike.
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