Bringing Enterprise Class Automation to Open Networking

By GIXnews

Today Puppet Labs announced that Cumulus Networks has joined its Puppet Supported Program. We’re very excited about this and, if you’re implementing a software-defined data center, you should be excited too.

Is it finally possible to manage the data center instead of just managing stacks?

Because Cumulus Linux is Linux, our customers are able to use the same tools they know and love for managing Linux servers to manage their networks. The joint integration work we’ve done means it’s easier than ever for anyone that wants to automate their data center to extend their change management procedures across both servers and switches, unifying data center and network infrastructure under a single dashboard.

Beyond the streamlining of management consoles, this integration brings a host of business benefits to any organization. For example:

  • Businesses can more quickly deploy applications with integrated, end-to-end application deployment from provisioning the VM to the full-stack (see the diagram below)
  • Unified management and automation significantly reduces human error, meaning more uptime for services and applications
  • Support for multiple Puppet masters across dev, test and production assures full visibility of change management
  • Integration gives networking teams the ability to contribute to the Puppet code that manages infrastructure configuration

How have we achieved this progress?

Puppet Labs and Cumulus Networks have developed a joint integration so switches running our Cumulus Linux OS can be managed just as easily as any other Puppet-managed device. Using the Cumulus Linux Puppet modules and native Puppet Enterprise agent, customers can use Puppet Enterprise to configure and manage compute resources, switch VLANs, interfaces and more. Read more about it in the Puppet blog.

In many ways, this joint solution was inevitable. IT has been automating tasks within data centers for years in order to save resources, speed time-to-value, and reduce the burden on personnel’s time. By automating tasks like scheduling, monitoring, patching, etc., IT staff, already spread thin in managing the data center, have been able to focus on mission-critical functions that required all of their expertise. As the software-defined data center and virtualized infrastructure became the norm, the need to automate and manage rapidly expanding deployments of virtual machines became even more important to a successful IT organization.

While many companies have mature server automation practices and tooling in place, changes to the network are often performed manually, or with vendor-provided tools that are disconnected from other data center operations. Now with the rise of open networking, companies no longer need to purchase custom network hardware that comes with pre-integrated software [read: lock-in] that has to be managed, updated, etc. and often lacks the specific features IT might need for its implementation. With Cumulus Linux, switches within a joint Puppet/Cumulus -powered data center have adopted the lingua franca of the data center: Linux.

Check out what this customer says about Puppet with Cumulus Linux.

A good example of an organization that leverages Cumulus Linux across its entire infrastructure is Faithlife, the worldwide leader in electronic tools and resources for Bible study. Already a fan of Puppet as its automation tool of choice, Faithlife turned to Cumulus Linux for increased agility and the ability to manage infrastructure across networking and compute. The ease-of-use due to the Faithlife team’s familiarity with Linux was also a big plus.

“It’s comfortable to our team, it’s familiar to our team; it’s just Linux,” said Richard Keene, principal engineer at Faithlife. “We’ve actually created an entire data center including network infrastructure based on just Cumulus Linux, so we really feel we can do just about anything with this joint solution from Puppet and Cumulus.”

The new Puppet modules for Cumulus Linux with Puppet Enterprise certification provide standardized configurations for enterprise environments, making it even easier for forward thinking companies like Faithlife to take advantage of enterprise class automation for open networking.

Provisioning with Puppet & Cumulus Linux: From Days to Minutes

Can this help make your data center more efficient?

Learn more about the new era of network automation from the video, solution brief and other materials here on

The post Bringing Enterprise Class Automation to Open Networking appeared first on Cumulus Networks Blog.

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