Akanda Releases New Version of OpenStack Astara at OpenStack Summit Austin

Customers Can Cut the Cord with Over-The-Top Network Functions; Advanced Features for High Network Availability; and New IPV6 VPN Services for Hybrid Cloud & IOT Infrastructures

AUSTIN, TX –  April 24, 2016 –  Akanda, the major contributor to OpenStack Astara, today announced its new Mitaka release for open source network orchestration and virtualization at the OpenStack Summit in Austin. The Mitaka release for OpenStack Astara is now available for immediate download.

OpenStack Astara is the industry’s leading solution for open source network orchestration and virtualization. A vendor-agnostic network solution, Astara does not require an SDN controller and radically simplifies OpenStack network deployments. Today, Astara supports more than 2,000 customers with thousands of virtual machines (VMs) at DreamHost, a web and cloud hosting provider in Los Angeles. DreamHost helped develop the mother code for Astara and replaced VMware NSX with the Astara open source platform. An official OpenStack project since September 2015,  Astara has more than 40 core contributors from the OpenStack community. Astara is also in trials today with some of the world’s largest service providers and enterprises.

In Austin, several sessions will review the new OpenStack Astara release. More details about the Astara sessions and its new capabilities are here.

What’s new in OpenStack Astara?

  • Over-the-Top Network Functions: The new Astara release allows OpenStack operators to cut the cord with over-the-top network functions. For the first time, OpenStack operators can bring their own network function to any Layer 2 network. Simply put, cloud operators can use the network they have, choose the network function they want. No more vendor lock-in.   
  • Advanced Features for High Network Availability: Astara takes network availability to new heights with Active/Active software appliances. These advanced features double network capacity, eliminate idle resources, and introduce higher levels of reliability and scalability for Layer 3 services, such as routing, load-balancing, and application performance management.
  • Lightweight IPV6 VPNaaS: The Mitaka release of Astara makes it easier for customers to secure hybrid cloud and IOT infrastructures with IPV6 virtual private networks (VPNs).  For example, Astara can now support up to 16 million IPV6 VPNs over VXLAN. IPV6 VPNs are a lightweight alternative to more expensive MPLS-based VPNs, which can’t be decoupled from network hardware without significant vendor support. Many network experts consider IPV6 VPNs to be foundational for hybrid cloud and IOT use cases.

“OpenStack Astara is leading the over-the-top (OTT) revolution in network infrastructure,” said Robert Haim, a principal analyst with ACG Research. ”In the same way that Netflix decouples video delivery from dedicated broadcast and cable networks, OpenStack Astara abstracts network functions from routers and switches. This is part of a massive substitution movement towards open hardware and open software for cloud operators, introducing new OTT approaches to the $20B+ network hardware market.”

“The Mitaka release of OpenStack Astara introduces web-scale to virtualized network services,” said Henrik Rosendahl, CEO of Akanda. “It’s all about software defined hardware choices; new features that allows cloud operators to scale up and out, and radically simple OpenStack Neutron deployment. We’re also excited about new services such as IPV6 VPNs, which are elemental for hybrid cloud and IOT applications.”

Many companies and groups contributed to the Mitaka release of OpenStack Astara. They include Arista, Comcast, Cumulus Networks, Dell, DreamHost, EasyStack, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HPE, Intel, the Linux Foundation, Mirantis, the MEF, NEC, NGINX, RackSpace, Red Hat and many others.

Supporting OpenStack Astara Resources

Astara Demo:                                                    

Project Astara Wiki:                                                                

Akanda Blog:                                                                                                     



About Akanda

Akanda is the major contributor to OpenStack Astara, an open software project focused on network orchestration and virtualization.   Akanda was started by the same DreamHost team that developed an OpenStack storage platform called Ceph (now part of RedHat).  Today, Akanda provides development resources for OpenStack Astara.  It also provides commercial support and services for OpenStack Astara. For more information, visit and follow @akandaio

About Astara

Astara is an open source network orchestration platform built by OpenStack operators for real OpenStack clouds. An official OpenStack project, Astara is changing the future of networking by delivering an open, extensible, and cost effective platform for enterprises and service providers to virtualize their networks. Astara is layer 2 agnostic and powers network virtualization for DreamCompute, the OpenStack-based public cloud offered by DreamHost.




OpenStack Astara Replaces VMware NSX

Good Network World story from ONS 2016 about how enterprises can save 70% deploying an open source network virtualization solution from Akanda and Cumulus Networks.

Network World link here:



Astara brings peace to OpenStack networks

Cloud operators have plenty of good reasons to love OpenStack, but networking hasn’t really been one of them.




Enterprises Can Save 70 Percent By Migrating Their VMware Workloads to OpenStack and Container Infrastructures

/ — SAN FRANCISCO, CA — (Marketwired) — 01/12/16 — Akanda, the major contributor to OpenStack Project Astara, today announced that it will participate in a January 21 webinar explaining howDreamHost deployed a large-scale public cloud on OpenStack with an open source solution from Akanda, Chef, and Cumulus Networks.

In 2013, DreamHost began the process of replacing VMware NSX with a native OpenStack solution that provides layer 3 network services to tens of 1,000s of Virtual Machines serving more than 1,000 DreamHost customers. Akanda, Cumulus Networks, and DreamHost believe similar cloud deployments can save enterprises up to 70% in capital expense and 40% in operating expense by utilizing an open source network virtualization solution.

Key elements include a lightweight network virtualization platform from Akanda that uses OpenStack Astara for cloud orchestration and management, several IT automation recipes written by DreamHost using OpenChef, and an open, easy-to-program network operating system from Cumulus Networks. DreamHost’s open source solution has now been in production for two years and demonstrates how enterprises can migrate VMware workloads to OpenStack and container infrastructures.

Webinar presenters include:

  • Mark McClain, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Akanda
  • Nolan Leake, Co-Founder and CTO at Cumulus Networks
  • Jonathan LaCour, VP of Cloud and Development at DreamHost

Webinar attendees will learn:

  • The key design considerations behind migrating VMware NSX workloads to OpenStack infrastructures and Linux containers.
  • How OpenStack Astara allows enterprises to replace network appliances with software-defined network functions.
  • How Akanda and Cumulus Networks allow enterprises to program OpenStack Neutron like a server to configure VXLAN overlays for layer 2 networking.

To register for webinar, click here.

About Akanda, Inc.
Akanda, Inc. is the major contributor and supporter of the open source Astara network virtualization software project. Founded by the DreamHost team that developed and supported the Ceph storage platform, Akanda provides the Astara project with development resources. Akanda also offers commercial subscriptions and enterprise support to its customers and partners deploying Astara. For more, visit and follow @akandaio

About Cumulus Networks
Cumulus Networks helps customers realize cost-effective, high capacity networking for modern data centers. Linux transformed the economics and innovation for data center compute, and Cumulus Linux is doing the same for the network. It radically reduces the costs and complexities of operating modern data center networks for businesses of all sizes. Cumulus Networks has received venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Peter Wagner and four of the original VMware founders. For more, visit and follow @cumulusnetworks

About DreamHost
DreamHost is a global Web hosting and cloud services company with over 370,000 entrepreneur and developer customers, and 1.3 million blogs, websites, and apps hosted. The Company develops and uses Open Source software throughout its infrastructure, and is a leading proponent of OpenStack and Ceph. DreamHost offers a wide spectrum of Web services including Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Dedicated Server Hosting, Domain Name Registration, the public cloud storage service, DreamObjects, and the public cloud computing service, DreamCompute. Please visit for more information.



The Year That Software Ate the Network Hardware Stack

2016: The Year That Software Ate the Network Hardware Stack

1. OpenStack Will Become a Top Choice for Managing Multi-Vendor Clouds

In 2011, Amazon introduced an “AWS connector,” a tiny piece of software (called Amazon EC2 import connector) that migrated VMware workloads to Amazon’s cloud infrastructure. This migration tool is great for enterprises, which want more cloud choices. It also illustrates how quickly the cloud can dismantle vendor lock-in. Today, OpenStack makes it easy to automate network functions and program your network infrastructure like a server. Going a step further, network orchestration platforms like OpenStack Astara can make it easy for enterprises to pick-and-choose the network functions they want. How would this work? Network functions are network applications.   This software lives inside dedicated network appliances and network routers. Today, these software functions can be unbundled from network hardware and run inside OpenStack clouds. That’s great news for enterprises, but not great for hardware vendors.  In 2016, I expect OpenStack will be used as a connector technology to manage multi-vendor clouds.

2. Cloud Infrastructure Makes Routing-as-a-Service Viable

Speaking about the rise of mobile banking and FinTech start-ups, Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said “the world needs banking, it doesn’t need banks.” The same could be said about networking. The world needs networks, it doesn’t need big network vendors.   Today, most network functions can be abstracted into software. What this means is that $20B edge routing market is about to be turned upside down. Cloud infrastructures are interesting alternatives, because they give enterprises unlimited compute, storage and network resources. For certain edge routing functions, there is unlimited compute for network processing, unlimited storage for router applications, and unlimited flash memory for things like routing tables and route forwarding. For these reasons, cloud infrastructures make routing-as-a-service viable or good enough for most network services. In next few years, I expect a large substitution movement from hardware to software. This will put a lot of pressure on network hardware vendors to rethink their product form factors (hardware vs. software) and their business models (buy vs. rent).   In the short-term, network functions like application performance management; traffic load-balancing and security functions will migrate from network hardware to network software.

3. Open Software Movement Has Made Many Standards Bodies Obsolete

Within the open software movement, traditional standards bodies are losing relevance.   They are viewed as slow and plodding – as well as government or vendor-controlled.   And these standards bodies are hardly pillars for innovation or interoperability. In contrast, the power of open networks is best defined by the contributions of its users.   We’re talking about developers with hands on keyboards. They contribute code to groups like OpenStack Foundation, Open NFV and a wide assortment of open compute and open networking projects. It’s meritocracy that is all about speed, efficiency and results. Most DevOps people operate outside the orbit of the IETF, ETSI or the ITU, but their contributions to cloud futures is real and substantial. Interoperability isn’t just about kicking the IP packet down the network pipe. It is about the unbundling or bundling of network services depending on the needs of customers. Regrettably, many standards bodies have forgotten how to stay relevant.


About the Author

Henrik Rosendahl is the CEO of Akanda, the main contributor of the recently launched OpenStack network orchestration platform, Project Astara. Rosendahl has led Akanda since the company’s founding in 2014. A veteran of enterprise software, Rosendahl was previously the co-founder of CloudVolumes (a virtualization company acquired by VMware in 2014). In all, he has four successful exits including Pancetera Software (to Quantum), Thinstall (also to VMware), and Interse A/S (to ScanJour A/S). Rosendahl also invests and advises startups, including Be My Eyes and Lua. He lives in the Bay Area.