A Full Year of Commercially Available Cumulus Linux Brings Us to Version 2.2

It’s been about one year since we released Cumulus Linux commercially to the market.

Cumulus Linux proved itself quickly as a powerful alternative to traditional networking approaches — not only for the choice it provided with a disaggregated model (choice of both networking hardware and networking OS) or the new business model it provided (a software-only solution with a transparent pricing model) — but also because for the first time, the operating system was a true Linux OS, one that is managed just like Linux on servers, thereby solving many customer challenges around IT automation with tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Salt, Graphite, and Ganglia readily available on networking platforms. Soon, cloud providers adopted Cumulus Linux and took advantage of various tools to automate rack provisioning, orchestrate switches like servers, and integrate networking with existing workflows.

Cumulus Linux 2.0 brought support for the latest industry-standard hardware platforms with Trident II-based switches and the latest technologies with hardware accelerated VXLANs and Layer 2 gateway integration with network virtualization providers such as VMware NSX. Since then, Cumulus Networks has added many platforms to the HCL, with major partners such as Dell on board, and has had broad coverage for modern data center architectures (like L3 Clos fabrics, OSPF unnumbered), modern provisioning tools (ONIE, zero touch provisioning), modern operations tools (Prescriptive Topology Manager — PTM), and modern data center orchestration and monitoring tools. In fact, more and more solutions have been seamlessly integrated with Cumulus Linux due to the simplicity of integration: it’s Linux, so partners can take advantage of the open source interface to integrate with Cumulus Linux rapidly.

Today, with Cumulus Linux 2.2, we continue to serve our existing customers’ requests for more flexibility and choice while bringing operational efficiencies that broaden Cumulus Linux’s applicability to enterprise modern data center networks.

From a hardware standpoint, Cumulus Linux now supports 16 hardware platforms and two CPU architectures from five different hardware partners. With the addition of x86 CPU architectures, the customer benefits from simpler application development and application portability on Cumulus Linux as the network OS platform. Companies can build their tools for x86 architectures and leverage them seamlessly across the server and the network. Furthermore, Cumulus Linux 2.2 brings support for the first 10G SFP+ Trident II platform, enabling VXLAN acceleration on a 10G platform and simplifying cabling operations overall for network virtualization-optimized 10G server deployment through reuse of existing 10G transceivers and cables.

From a feature standpoint, Cumulus Linux 2.2 improves operational efficiencies in response to enterprise demand for simplified and scalable configuration for networking devices. In particular, the new interface configuration manager developed by Cumulus Networks, ifupdown2, provides a better Linux networking experience. Cumulus Networks continues to enhance the Prescriptive Topology Manager (PTM) to simplify operations workflows and reduce risk by prescribing how a network is supposed to operate. Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) is an integral part of PTM now and provides a lightweight, consistent fast link failure detection mechanism for a number of upstream routing protocols like OSPF and BGP. Cumulus Linux 2.2 also brings more flexibility to modern data center networking with a comprehensive suite of solutions for dual-attached servers (Host HA), from Layer 2 bonding (Host-MLAG) to Layer 3 ECMP, and an overlay solution for L2 cloud services on bare metal switches, Lightweight Network Virtualization (LNV).

From a solution standpoint, Cumulus Linux now supports better network traffic visibility through sFlow with InMon’s open source Host sFlow agent and it integrates with MetaCloud’s OpenStack private cloud solution to provide turnkey infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

For more information on Cumulus Linux 2.2, check Cumulus Linux 2.2: What’s new?

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