Virtualization Technology News and Information
Q&A: Interview with Startup Akanda, Delivering an Open Source Network Virtualization Platform for Cloud Providers
Last month, a new startup named Akanda launched out of stealth mode, announcing it would deliver a production-ready open source network virtualization platform for cloud service providers.  To find out more, I was fortunate to be able to speak with Henrik Rosendahl, the company's CEO. 

VMblog:  Akanda came out of stealth mode last month at OpenStack Paris.  Can you provide us with a brief overview of the company and its product?

Henrik Rosendahl:  Absolutely. Akanda officially launched on November 3 with a production-ready open source network virtualization platform for cloud service providers that is designed to help improve routing in their virtualized networks. The Akanda project was incubated and developed during the past two years by DreamHost. It was initially focused on improving virtual routing within Dreamhost's cloud infrastructure; however, the solution was so that we made the decision to spin-out the technology and make the product available commercially. We look forward to expanding the virtual network services more broadly, as well as gaining new contributors and wider adoption of our solution.

VMblog:  Akanda has a number of well-known founding team members and investors.  Can you give VMblog readers a brief introduction?

Rosendahl:  Akanda's founding team has extensive experience, developing open source software and working with OpenStack communities, and networking. You may know about the success of Ceph storage - which was also a spin-off from DreamHost prior to the acquisition by RedHat. I am fortunate to be joined by DreamHost CEO, Simon Anderson, as chairman of the board; Jonathan LaCour, vice president of cloud at DreamHost, as a director and technical advisor; and, last week we announced Mark McClain as CTO. DreamHost's parent company, New Dream Network, provided the company's initial seed capital. As we evolve and grow, we may look at new investors.

VMblog:  What were the drivers leading you to create Akanda?

Rosendahl:  DreamHost initially created Akanda to fill a need within the SDN market that could deliver Layer 3+ network service with full L2 tenant isolation and IPv6 support. There had long been a gap in the industry and we simply decided to create the solution ourselves to be used internally. Today it's in daily production supporting thousands of VMs and we're happy to share the solution with other companies.

VMblog:  So then, what features differentiate Akanda from the other Software-Defined-Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) vendors?

Rosendahl:  The RUG is Akanda's unique management and orchestration layer.  The RUG provides highly available management and orchestration that in turn ensures high availability of Layer-3 and above.  In addition, Akanda is designed to be Layer-2 agnostic allowing deployers to utilize existing Layer-2 infrastructure or to select the Layer-2 solutions that meet design requirements.

VMblog:  And finally, as an open source project, can you discuss your vision for Akanda moving forward?

Rosendahl:  Over the past few years, OpenStack has proven to be the most cost effective and successful platform for a fully integrated multi-tenant cloud stack. Our goal for Akanda is to offer an alternative open source option for L3+ network services that cloud service providers can use in their implementation regardless of their choice of underlay network. To accomplish this, we intend to collaborate with all emerging open source network virtualization communities and projects including, OpenStack Neutron, OpenDaylight and OPNFV etc. We will also continue to build out integration to the other ecosystem vendors thus making it easier for our customers to implement Akanda in existing environments.


Once again, a special thank you to Henrik Rosendahl, CEO of Akanda, for taking time to speak with VMblog.

Published Thursday, December 11, 2014 6:44 AM by David Marshall
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