Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, PagerDuty Blog, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud

Linux Containers: Article

Cumulus Outs Cisco-Threatening Linux Network OS

Cumulus Linux promises to wreck Cisco’s traditional business model

The eagle seen flying over San Jose Wednesday was not a good omen for Cisco Systems. That quickly became evident from the way the creature befouled Cisco headquarters and beat its wings so that it sounded like it was humming the tune “Ding, dong, the witch is dead.”

Meanwhile, a few miles away in Mountain View, a start-up called Cumulus Networks was breaking cover after three years in stealth mode. It came out carrying a standalone network operating system decoupled from the underlying hardware infrastructure.

Called Cumulus Linux, it promises to wreck Cisco’s traditional business model.

The widgetry “makes the switch look like a Linux server with high-performance routing optimizations. Essentially it’s just a routing-optimized Linux server,” a close friend of the family said.

Cumulus says it can replace the complex proprietary network solutions that are pricey to buy, pricey to maintain, interoperably challenged, error-prone and the source of vendor lock-in.

It would substitute inexpensive commodity hardware that can be automated by the new generation of “software-defined” data center software and native Linux-based toolsets. It says the resulting network will be faster, simpler and cheaper than what we’ve got, and support the “new more fluid application architectures with agility and efficiency.”

It claims Cumulus Linux will do for networking what Linux did for servers, particularly, one supposes, Sun servers, whose business was rotted out by Red Hat Linux.

As Cumulus co-founder and CEO JR Rivers remembers, “Having a common OS broke vendor lock-in, drove down server hardware cost, allowed scale-out architectures, and provided a common platform for innovations like virtualization….We are bringing that same transformational impact that Linux has had on data center economics and innovation to the networking side of the house.”

Cumulus already has a few customers including cloud service provider DreamHost and SSD-powered content delivery network Fastly, and – from the way Amazon Distinguished Engineer James Hamilton prettily blogged about the start-up – one suspects that what Cumulus’ press release describes as “one of the world’s biggest cloud providers” is none other than Amazon Web Services, which evidently has Cumulus Linux in “large-scale commercial deployment.”

The new company’s also got a $15 million A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Battery Ventures, four of the VMware’s original founders including Diane Greene and her husband, Sanford University Professor Mendel Rosenblum, and Peter Wagner, late of Accel.

The Wall Street Journal, by the way, says Greene is using Cumulus in her own new secret venture.

Cumulus is partnering with Broadcom and VMware (for its Nicira software-defined networking, don’t you know).

Cumulus sees high-speed bare-metal switches coming from ODMs like Quanta, Accton and Agema offering unprecedented price/performance running Cumulus Linux, a tailored version of Debian.

By providing an underlying OS for common Linux-based toolsets it would simplify network orchestration, automation and monitoring because customers could use familiar automation tools like Chef or Puppet and monitoring tools like Ganglia and collectd.

Cumulus also works with overlay network technologies such as network virtualization from VMware. Because it sits at the edge of the network, Cumulus Linux allows routing between physical and virtual servers – what it calls “an unprecedented capability.”

Hardware running Cumulus Linux can run alongside existing systems and – because the operating system uses industry-standard switching and routing protocols – common Linux-based toolsets can administer both the server and network infrastructure.

Bob Laliberte, an Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst, says, “We are seeing a high level of interest among large enterprises wanting to replicate the efficiency and agility of mega-scale data centers such as Google’s” and Cumulus “is opening up the Google-style model to a much broader set of companies.”

Ben Kepes, principal and analyst at diversity.net.nz, more pointedly said:

“For too long the networking world has been artificially constrained by proprietary solutions that tie specific hardware to deeply proprietary software. The launch of Cumulus Linux changes all that and could well be the point which heralds a blossoming of innovation in the networking world fueled by open hardware and open software. In the way that Linus Torvalds gave users alternatives to the proprietary hegemony, so too could a best-of-breed ecosystem in networking platforms break open this cozy world.”

Cumulus Linux is commercially available now through an annual subscription-pricing model that includes support and maintenance, and scales based on the switch performance capacity.

It claims that with ODM hardware running Cumulus Linux 10G can be deployed for the price of 1G.

It currently supports various 48-port 10G 1U switches and figures a cost of around $7,400 for the hardware and software license.

Hamilton says the price point “makes a standard network support contract look like the hostage payout that it actually is.” He also said the widgetry can deliver 512 ports of 10G or 128 ports of 40G in a single chassis.

The company says Cumulus Linux isn’t open source “but contains a large number of open source components. Those open source components are available in Debian or other upstream repositories. Cumulus Linux’ proprietary intellectual property encompasses IP surrounding hardware acceleration for which Cumulus Networks is not in the position to distribute source code. For the rest of Cumulus Linux functionality, Cumulus Networks is committed to pushing bug fixes and enhancements into the open source community.”

See http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. B2Cloud specializes in IoT devices for preventive and predictive maintenance in any kind of equipment retrieving data like Energy consumption, working time, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp em...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Suzuki Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Suzuki Inc. is a semiconductor-related business, including sales of consuming parts, parts repair, and maintenance for semiconductor manufacturing machines, etc. It is also a health care business providing experimental research for...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.