Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, February 22, 2024

Virtual Net Guides Containers Across Multiple Clouds 

The latest release of a network virtualization overlay is designed to connect multiple OpenStack cloud implementations while providing a software-defined networking (SDN) approach to emerging container orchestration engines making their way into production.

San Francisco-based network virtualization specialist Midokura said Wednesday (Aug. 10) the latest release of its enterprise "MidoNet" would allow container orchestration engines such as the Google-backed Kubernetes and Docker Swarm to operate on its SDN platform.

Midokura and other network virtualization vendors are promoting the approach as a way to boost cloud adoption as well as improve management of network infrastructure and applications that are increasingly being delivered via micro-services like containers. The latest release targets the "ability to connect multiple OpenStack clouds and support the containers movement," Midokura CTO Pino de Candia noted in a statement.

As application containers go mainstream, network vendors are moving beyond early security concerns to stress new features and functionality designed to scale and make it easier for application developers to leverage container technology. Midokura stressed that its latest release includes analytics tools along with on-the-fly visualization of its virtual network.

The ability to connect multiple OpenStack clouds includes router "peering" feature used to exchange traffic on separate networks. The company said the new feature provides "overlay connectivity" among multiple OpenStack sites, including for example between two datacenters, via virtual extensible LAN tunneling. Along with direct connections between multiple sites, the approach is said to eliminate the need for constant backup procedures while reducing network control traffic.

The new release also illustrates how networking vendors are focusing on enterprise workloads running on emerging container-as-a-service platforms. Kubernetes has emerged as among the most popular container orchestration and management platforms, especially for OpenStack deployments. Hence, Midokura said it would initially integrate the orchestration platform based on Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Compute Engine with the latest release of its network. The combination would provide new capabilities for container networks, including the ability to allocate subnets for namespaces and to deploy an unlimited number of pods per node, the company claimed.

Early concerns about application container security have given way to worries about storage and memory requirements for application workloads. Mindful of those concerns, network vendors such as Midokura are stressing memory efficiency improvements of up to 75 percent for its virtual machines. That, it stressed, can help deliver improved application stability and response times.

Market watchers said the multi-cloud approach to SDN and network virtualization addresses the enterprise trend toward using an average of eight different cloud service providers. That shift is expected to create growing demand for tools to deploy and manage application workloads across multiple clouds.

Midokura said the latest release of its MidoNet platform is available now. It also will demonstrate the networking technology during the Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) Developer Forum in San Francisco from August 16 to 18.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).