As I prepare for upcoming Networking Field Day 9 I’ve decided to spend a bit of time looking at the event sponsors before the event, and try to get a sense for what they might have to say. One sponsor is Cumulus Networks.
Cumulus launched in June of 2013 and Co-Founder and CEO, JR Rivers appeared at the Tech Field Day Extra at ONUG in the Fall 2013. Back then they had just announced Cumulus Linux 2.0 with support for the Trident II chipset and they discussed the basics of Cumulus Linux with Tom Hollingsworth, Chris Marget, and Jason Edeleman.
As I spent a bit of time perusing cumulusnetworks.com it was very clear that they have a solid offering that is certainly gaining traction, and for good reason.
Mix and Match
One thing I appreciate is that with Cumulus, I can decide which hardware I want, rather than being locked into a specific vendor. You can visit the HCL for specifics on which whitebox or branded box platform you can use. This approach of decoupling the NOS from the hardware is becoming more and more popular these days.
ONIE and Cumulus Linux
You’ll notice as you examine the HCL, that the model number column contains the words “with ONIE.”
What is ONIE and why is it required for each of these models? ONIE is an Open Network Install Environment that allows you to install Cumulus Linux on whitebox hardware . It’s a small linux operating system that boots on a switch and takes you through the install of a vendors network operating system. ONIE is an open source initiative that you can clone from github.
Features of Cumulus Linux
There are a number of new features listed for the 2.5.0 release of Cumulus Linux. Validated Design Guides are available for VMware vSphere and Cumulus Linux, OpenStack and Cumulus Linux, and Big Data and Cumulus Linux. 2.5.0 also introduces active-active Layer 2 configurations with MLAG support, Layer 2 scale with VLAN-aware bridges tested up to 2000 concurent VLANs, and additional features that you can read in the release notes.
Test Drive With Cumulus Workbench
If you’re interested in taking Cumulus for a test drive, they offer a workbench, i.e; a remote lab, that you can access to test. You do have to fill out a form to schedule the time, but why wouldn’t you?
What I’m Looking Forward To
I’m looking forward to seeing Cumulus at NFD9 and likely hearing more about the 2.5 release. I’d also love to get in and kick the tires or at least see how it is to configure it. I know its mostly bash, but what else can I do? Either way, I’m excited to hear what they have to say.
- Whitebox hardware refers to switching hardware that is purchased without a network operating system. Quanta is one example of a company that sells whitebox switch hardware. ↩