For several years now, Cumulus Networks has been making the case for a new era of networking under which IT organizations would disaggregate network hardware and software. But it turns out there is still a significant portion of the IT population that want to acquire network hardware and software at the same time.
To serve those customers, Cumulus Networks has announced Cumulus Express, an instance of the company’s network operating system (NOS) based on Linux that comes pre-configured on industry standard hardware.
Cumulus Networks CEO Josh Leslie says over 10 different hardware platforms have been certified to run the company’s NOS. Initially, Cumulus Express will come on 1G to 100G platforms based on hardware from Edge-Core. But in time, Leslie says, Cumulus Network will extend the Cumulus Express line to involve hardware from its other technology partners.
Leslie says that while Cumulus Networks already has over 500 customers, the decision to create a turnkey platform should expand the company’s market opportunity. There are, for example, a lot of hardware-based resellers that would be more inclined to sell Cumulus Networks versus software that had to be integrated by the customer or a third party, says Leslie.
“For those types of partners, Cumulus Express should be infinitely easier to sell,” says Leslie.
Most networking professionals, despite the rise of software-defined networking, are still pre-conditioned to think in terms of acquiring and deploying network hardware. In addition, many IT organizations don’t want to have to devote resources to integrating hardware and software. The existence of a turnkey platform from Cumulus Networks might not get them to move away from their existing networking vendors of its own accord. But for many of them, the existence of pre-configured hardware is a prerequisite for having the conversation in the first place.