After reviewing 90 submissions since announcing the competition in April, Nokia Networks announced winners for its Silicon Valley Open Innovation Challenge today. Of these, seven finalists were chosen, and Nokia Networks named network virtualization startup Midokura as one of two grand prize winners (the other one was Parstream, a big-data company).
Four-year-old Midokura’s win is rooted in the work it has achieved with MidoNet, a network virtualization overlay that integrates with cloud platforms like OpenStack. MidoNet offers a software-based virtual networking layer within an existing physical network infrastructure, providing scalability and a flexible platform.
For Midokura, it’s a chance to cozy up to a large partner. (Nokia Networks is the network-equipment arm of Nokia.) The startup is reasonably well known, and it recently got MidoNet qualified to run on Cumulus Networks switches, but it’s still small and could benefit from having an established ally.
Specifics remain hazy on next steps or potential products between the two, though. More will become known when both sides meet at Nokia’s Finland headquarters as part of Midokura’s winner’s package.
“Nokia Networks has a wide portfolio of initiatives in the telco cloud space, so there are many roads open for us, and we are looking forward to discussing it with them in months to come,” said Dan Conde, Midokura’s product director. “Telco cloud is a different space than we had focused on in the past, which is the IaaS market, but our focus on OpenStack and Neutron is also aligned with technologies Nokia is supporting.”
Nokia Networks sees MidoNet as a complement to its portfolio, and Midokura as an interesting partner due to its capacity for a robust telco cloud infrastructure along with the added benefits of SDN.
Midokura “does not require operators to upgrade existing networking hardware to SDN-ready hardware,” said David Letterman, head of ecosystem development at Nokia Networks. “This offers special benefits to operators, because they can evolve to an SDN infrastructure through software implementations by creating a logical overlay network, which can do SDN functions and also service chaining.”
Nokia Networks’ SDN strategy consists of its virtualized network elements and cloud application management, both of which have been tested with users and have shown readiness of cloud technology for commercial deployment. In May, Nokia Networks announced an addition to its long-standing partnership with Juniper Networks to promote telco cloud for mobile broadband.