Back to the Future

What is network virtualization?

What is a network virtualization overlay?

When you think about and look at the cogwheels that keep our solution together you will find out that things like NAT and tunneling are here since the 90s.

When i worked with Linux and NAT for the first time the tool was still known as ipmasqadm.

Basically every VPN you ever built (and every PPP connection you ever did – and every phone call you ever had) was, technically, a network ‘virtualization’ overlay.

I have seen and debugged routers, firewalls, even double NAT firewalls (company merger, both had the same 10.x.x.x networks) from the point of view of a data center systems engineer. I am looking at a networking solution through the eyes of a user.

And I like what I am seeing here.

The essence of an overlay is that the underlay does not have to understand the traffic any more. It becomes a carrier for data. This is the logical consequence of transforming your IT department to a service organization, giving your users the freedom to build arbitrary, safe, high performance, value driven network topologies for their applications and their software development project life-cycles.

SDN is nothing but a nice industry term for ‘TCP/IP network change management as a service’.

Some people say that a disruptive, L3 centric, IP-only overlay is the wrong way to enter the network virtualization market (Here’s looking at you, MPLS).

We believe that IP, and only IP, will be the technology that will be the last survivor of the architecture wars (which, according to Big V are supposed to be already over).

In the future of the internet of things everything will speak internet protocol.

People who have been working with IP and routing for a long time know that it has its own problems,- provide a working implementation of roaming for example is a dirty little secret and has taken countless sleepless nights from network engineers before seeing a successful implementation. Or put an IP address into every car of a country and try to make them talk to a single load balancer IP for modern telemetry applications. Just not possible with one IP and one piece of hardware.

However, IP is the best underlay technology we have right now.

So it is only fair to wrap it up decoratively in the fancy gift paper of a VXLAN header and use it as the overlay protocol.

This year 2015 will be about installers and putting our work upstream.

MidoNet will become visible to you and your customers as an installable option in Mirantis OpenStack, Redhat Enterprise Linux OpenStack, and Ubuntu OpenStack.

Because we are rooted in Open Source and deeply converged with the Linux networking model (ovs-datapath, netlink, tap devices, network namespaces) this is only consequential and logical.

We understand that most people out there are still afraid of network virtualization. After all its a new concept of doing things. Like every new technology in this wonderful market of information technology we will prove that our product, distributed, IP- based, API- driven satisfies a business need and makes the work of the systems engineers easier who have to deal, live and work with this architecture on a daily basis.

Have some ideas on your own how to make it better?

Talk to us, we always welcome to your feedback, and we are hiring!


Alexander Gabert

i write text into terminals to make servers do important things.


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