Cumulus Linux 2.5 Advances Networking Operating System

Cumulus Networks first emerged from stealth in June of 2013, promising to build a new model for network operating systems. It’s a promise that the company continues to deliver on with the announcement of Cumulus Linux 2.5 today.

Cumulus Linux 2.5 is the fourth release in the Cumulus Linux 2.x branch of development, with the 2.0 release debuting in October 2013. Beth Carlton, director of marketing at Cumulus Networks, told Enterprise Networking Planet that there were also 2.1 and 2.2 releases.

“The features within Cumulus Linux 2.5 are important in that they expand the applicability of open networking to additional network architectures, but what may be most important about this release is the support for validated ecosystem solutions,” Carlton said. “For each of the Cumulus Linux validated designs – VMware vSphere, OpenStack and big data – customers can check out capabilities in a remote testing environment and then use the step-by-step guidelines and tools to more simply deploy the solutions in their environment.”

Cumulus Linux 2.5 also introduces new protocol support for the active-active-first hop redundancy protocol (VRR). Aurelie Fonteny, product marketing manager at Cumulus Networks, explained that on Cumulus Linux 2.5, there is now extended VRR support for traditional Layer 2 topologies.

“Previously, VRR provided virtualized router redundancy in network configurations where the routers were directly attached to the server hosts,” Fonteny said.

Support has also been extended within Cumulus Linux 2.5 for the VXLAN tunnelling protocol. VXLAN enables a layer 2 network overlay on top of a layer 3 network.

“From a software perspective, VXLAN has been supported in hardware since Cumulus Linux 2.0,” Fonteny said. “Since then, we’ve added integration with third party overlays, including VMware NSX and Midokura, and we support LNV (open source Lightweight Network Virtualization).”

Cumulus Networks is now also well positioned for the emerging market for 25 GbE and 50 GbE networking gear. Efforts to build out networking gear that support 25 GbE and 50 GbE began earlier this year with the launch of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium in July.

“Broadcom has previewed their Tomahawk chipset, and that is expected to prompt suppliers of white box switches to create 25G and 50G switch offerings, which will in turn fuel open networking solutions within the Cumulus Networks ecosystem,” Carlton said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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