Cumulus Networks: Linux operating system for networking hardware

Cumulus Networks is bringing the Linux revolution to the network. Founded by veteran networking engineers from Cisco, VMware and Google, Cumulus Networks makes the first Linux operating system for networking hardware and fills a critical gap in realizing the true promise of the software-defined datacenter.

For an overview see the video at this link and embedded below:

Just as Linux completely transformed the economics and innovation on the server side of the datacenter, Cumulus Linux will do the same for the network.  It is radically reducing the costs and complexities of operating modern datacenter networks for service providers and enterprises including DreamHost and Fastly.

From their website:

The new network paradigm is an open ecosystem where businesses can choose between various industry standard networking gear, network operating systems and network applications to meet their business needs.

Cumulus Linux is THE Linux network operating system. It is not just based on Linux, it IS Linux and offers the entirety of the Linux experience on networking hardware. Existing open source and commercial Linux applications run natively on industry standard switches, rich data center networking solutions are augmented to support large scale CLOS fabrics and next generation architectures, and new applications are developed and integrated rapidly, enabling time to market and further innovation.

The same Cumulus Linux distribution supports a broad range of switches from different vendors. Customers can choose from a wide range of platforms with various port densities ranging from 48x1G ports to wire-rate 32x40G ports with the latest industry leading switching silicon, various form factors and various capabilities (see hardware compatibility list). The industry standard hardware comes with an Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) for zero touch install of the network operating system of choice.

This open approach enables choice with the best hardware, software, applications, network architectures and no vendor lock-in.

Cumulus Linux enables the following benefits to your network:

  • Faster
    High capacity fabrics, unprecedented price-performance, rapid innovation
  • Easier
    Simplified network automation, consistent tools for network and compute, flexible solutions
  • Affordable
    Lower OPEX/CAPEX, break free from vendor lock-in, large ecosystem of Linux apps

Cumulus Linux is the missing piece needed to build a modern, scalable data center, bringing the same paradigms of manageability, clustering, monitoring and orchestration that are applied at the server and virtual machine layer today to the network, and realizing the full promise of the software-defined data center.

Key Cumulus Linux Functionality

  • Rich Data Center Networking Solutions
    Enhanced open networking solutions, including support for IPv4/v6 routing suite, Layer 2 suite, security ACLs, QoS, and VXLAN. These features are at the foundation of traditional and modern data center architectures such as large-scale leaf/spine fabrics, and network virtualization.
  • Rich Open Source and Commercial Applications Ecosystem
    Cumulus Linux leverages the existing Linux kernel datastructures to allow seamless integration with existing Linux applications, both open source and commercial versions.
  • Large Scale Orchestration, Automation
    Leverages Linux’s extensibility to support any scripting language, enables automation with zero-touch install and provisioning, and integrates seamlessly with orchestration tools such as Chef, Puppet, CFEngine.
  • Efficient Troubleshooting and Monitoring
    Leverages traditional Linux and networking tools such as SNMPv2/v3, SPAN/ERSPAN, integrates with advanced monitoring tools such Collectd, Ganglia, Nagios, and provides advanced troubleshooting with tools such as Cumulus Linux’s Prescriptive Topology Module for topology consistency against a topology graph.
  • Rich Hardware Ecosystem
    Cumulus Linux is hardware agnostic. A switch abstraction layer accelerates networking features in hardware on a broad range of 1G/10G/40G industry standard gear. Cumulus Linux includes support for platforms based on the latest industry standard switching silicon, enabling next generation architectures with high density 40G spines and flexible platforms.

Cumulus has received venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Peter Wagner and four of the original VMware founders.

For more information visit or follow @cumulusnetworks

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