Cumulus Networks to Simplify NV Deployments Sans Controllers

Mike Vizard
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Cumulus Networks announced today that as part of an update to its network operating system based on Linux, it will soon give IT organizations access to tools to create their own network virtualization overlays using Ethernet Virtual Private Networks (EVPN).

EVPN makes use of an industry-standard MP-BGP based control plane to create a layer of network virtualization that isn’t dependent on a single controller. Cumulus Networks CTO JR Rivers says that while EVPN technology has been around for a while, there has not been an abundance of tools available to invoke it.

Other new features in version 3.2 of Cumulus Linux include support for the Protocol-Independent Multicast standard that is employed to more efficiently distribute data streams such as video across an IP network, along with a new snapshot and rollback capability that minimizes risks associated with upgrades should they go awry for any reason.

Finally, Cumulus Linux also provides formal support for a previously announced Network Command Line Utility (NCLU) that makes it easier for network administrators to make the transition to managing networks based on a distribution of Linux.

Overall, Cumulus Networks says it now has 515 customers using Cumulus Linux. IT organization most interested in Cumulus Linux typically have engineering skills that are being employed to deliver networking services at scale.

As the number of networking hardware platforms that Cumulus Linux has been certified to run on has increased in the last year, Rivers says Cumulus Networks expects the number of potential customers that fit that profile will increase significantly in 2017.

“They’re not the type of customer that wants to be coddled by a vendor,” says Rivers.


The good news these days is that networking overall is getting more agile thanks to the rise of network virtualization and software-defined networking (SDNs). The bad news is that, in many ways, networking is also getting more complicated to manage at scale. The issue IT organizations have now is how best to come to terms with that new networking reality.


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