Its Linux OS and tools for beyond the data center will first appear on Dell EMC switches
Cumulus Networks is expanding the reach of its open networking software from the data center to branch offices, giving enterprises a single networking fabric for both enterprises.
The Lowdown: The software – the Cumulus Linux operating system and NeIQ operations tool set – will first appear on the PowerSwitch platform from Dell EMC, a long-time proponent of open networking and a technology partner of Cumulus since 2014.
The Details: Both companies have been active in the move to open and disaggregated networking, with Cumulus among the pioneers in offering open networking software that can run on hardware from other vendors. Dell EMC was among the first major networking vendors to offer networking gear that could run third-party software.
The focus in the open networking space has primarily been on the data center, but Cumulus is now extending its capabilities into the branch environment. The key features for this move include 802.1x for authentication and security, automation, Power over Ethernet (PoE), voice VLAN, Layer 2/3 switching and multi-chassis link aggregation (MLAG) – the ability of two or more switches to act like a single switch in particular situations.
The Impact: Networking at the enterprise branch is evolving rapidly to keep up with the changes being brought by the cloud, the proliferation of mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other trends. Networks are becoming more open and more flexible – software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is an example of this. Pushing its open networking software out to the branch will bring greater flexibility to enterprises looking for a consistent fabric for both the core data center and branch, and will give Cumulus’ technology and channel partners a new area to sell into.
Background: Cumulus’ list of technology partners goes beyond Dell EMC and includes such hardware vendors as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, Penguin Computing, Mellanox, QCT, and Supermicro.
The Buzz: “Our 1,800 enterprise customers have made it clear that they want the ability to use the same tools for automation, orchestration and management for their Cumulus Networks data centers and extend the benefits to their campus networks. This opens the door to a simplified network that is open, feature-rich, flexible, and resilient,” said Partho Mishra, president and chief product officer at Cumulus.
“As a biodiversity institute, our IT department needs to support a large range of business processes, so it’s vital to choose a network solution that is as simple and flexible as possible,” said David Heijkamp, head of IT at Naturalis. “With Cumulus, we’ve taken a DevOps approach in deploying and managing our own network. Cumulus allows us to apply the monitoring and automation tools we’re familiar with in our data center to the campus network.”
“To keep pace with a multi-cloud world, the entire spectrum of IT infrastructure — from edge to core to cloud — is moving to open, automated, software-defined solutions,” said Drew Schulke, vice president of product management at Dell EMC Networking. “Cumulus Linux, on top of Dell EMC PowerSwitch hardware solutions, gives our joint customers new options when it comes to building modern, scalable, flexible and efficient campus network fabrics.”
“Campus networks are undergoing a rapid evolution as they draw inspiration from their data center peers from both a technology and cost perspective. At the forefront of this evolution is open networking, led by innovation and cost efficiencies that apply equally across data center and campus networks,” said Scott Ciccone, senior director of product marketing at Cumulus. “Interestingly, Cumulus Linux was originally intended for data center networking, but without a doubt, we’re seeing the lines between data center and campus blurring with campus standing to benefit significantly, and it’s about time. It’s the data center that has historically benefited from innovation, especially in compute and storage.”