Author Archives: JR Rivers
Author Archives: JR Rivers
Happy New Year! I was thinking back on the last year, reflecting on all of the changes in the IT industry, and in true nerd fashion, I opened a bottle of wine in search of the most poignant change that I expect to see in 2018. In the end, I ended up with two predictions linked to a common theme: the repeal of net neutrality.
First, I predict that we’ll start seeing effects of that legislation early in 2018, likely by the summer time. The anti net neutrality sponsors won’t be able to help themselves; they’ve got to institutionalize changes before the winds can blow in a different direction. I predict the first signs to emerge will be Internet access plans that distinguish based on access to content. These won’t be subtle plans — they’ll look a lot like your TV subscription in the flavor of something like “basic browsing” that will cost less than your current rate and a more expensive “streaming media” package that gives you access to content outside of that offered by your service provider.
The second is that we’ll see an emergence of one or more access/service providers that use this as a land grab Continue reading
I get really excited watching people use the technology that we develop at Cumulus Networks, and we’re always looking to make it easier for people get their heads and hands wrapped around our products and tools. Our first product, Cumulus Linux, is pretty easy; a curious techie can download our free Cumulus VX virtual machine and use it standalone or in concert with other virtual machines. If they want to see the rubber meet the road with a physical experience, they can buy a switch/license and experiment in a live network.
The introduction of Cumulus NetQ and Cumulus Host Pack upped the ante in demonstrability. These products work together to allow for high scale, operationally sane infrastructure. We wanted the curious to be able to explore all of our products in a comfortable setting. Thus was born a project we call Cumulus in the Cloud.
The awesome team here at Cumulus leveraged modern technology to set up a personal mini data center infrastructure complete with four servers and a multi-rack leaf/spine network. Then we put that technology to work in infrastructure related architectures that are meaningful to customers.
Our first personalization is a container deployment leveraging Mesos and Docker. An Continue reading
I started coveting IP encapsulated network virtualization back in 2005 when I was working to build a huge IP fabric. However, we needed to have layer 2 (L2) adjacencies to some servers for classic DSR load balancing. The ideal solution was to have something that looked like a bridge as far as the load balancers and servers were concerned, yet would tunnel unmodified L2 frames through the IP fabric. Alas, we were way ahead of our time.
Thank the IT gods that things have changed quite a bit in the last 12 years. Today, we as an IT community have VXLAN, which is embodied in most modern networking silicon and (a bit more importantly) realized as part of the Linux networking model so that it’s really straightforward to deploy and scale. IT geeks have a bunch of ways to build L2 domains that are extended across IP fabrics using VXLAN. There are dedicated SDN controllers, such as Contrail, Nuage, Midonet and VMware NSX; there are orchestration-hosted controllers in OpenStack Neutron and Docker Swarm; and there are simple tools like the lightweight network virtualization that we built at Cumulus Networks.
This all leads me to EVPN. We recently made EVPN available Continue reading
This colloquialism for “make my vehicle better” is an appropriate perspective on our recently released Cumulus Linux 3.0, or as we like to say around the office, “3.0.” Our engineering team looked at the upcoming market changes and decided to give Cumulus Linux a pretty sweet makeover.
Starting with the “IP mindset” that prevails in modern deployments, our team worked with the Linux kernel community to add Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF) to the kernel and hardware support to Cumulus Linux. VRF is coupled with BGP unnumbered interfaces as an even simpler way to deploy multi-tenant dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 networks.
In parallel, we looked at the image installation and upgrade mechanisms, revamping the build, packaging, and base installer. As a result, 3.0 is based on Debian 8 (Jessie) and Linux kernel 4.1 tied together with an entire system that enables the development flexibility of Linux coupled with the testing and support required for wide-scale, enterprise production deployments.
All of this functional horsepower is applied to seven new hardware platforms continuing Cumulus Networks’ industry leading support for Open Networking systems. These platforms cover the gamut of speeds, feeds, and functions; introducing Mellanox Spectrum alongside Broadcom Tomahawk and Continue reading
Nolan and I started Cumulus Networks with a specific vision: to help people build better, faster, easier networks. To change the way that people think about building and deploying applications, regardless of scale. A lot of people have contributed into turning this vision into reality, and we’re excited by everything that we’ve achieved.
As we closed our series A, it was time to name a CEO, and we didn’t want to trust the company to a “professional CEO”. To that end, I took on the responsibility. In the early days I was able to stay involved with the technology and products; however, as the company has progressed, I’ve had less time to spend in the areas that motivated me to start the company.
Then along came Josh. He participated in our extensive (some would say exhaustive) VP of Sales selection process and stood out. His ability to grasp the business details as well as manage the team dynamics showed us that he has chops. He joined us in June of 2015 and continued to impress. He did his day job effectively by restructuring our sales team, refining the sales process, getting operations tight, and closing deals. He also became a Continue reading
It’s an exciting time in networking!
Google and Amazon recently gave the IT community a glimpse behind the curtain of web-IT, revealing the outcome of their pioneering efforts. It’s no surprise that they’ve settled on IP fabrics and network virtualization to provide both scale and isolation. Web giants Facebook and Microsoft are both driving open hardware in an effort to eliminate the lock that industry incumbents have on networking solutions.
You know that you’re onto something when industry analysts start counting things – Gartner’s Andrew Lerner recently published his perspective on the networking industry; by 2017, they expect 50% of global enterprises to embrace web-IT architectures.
Last year, we saw the uptake of modern networking paradigms. Practitioners of NetDevOps are driving automation practices into the network domain. IP storage solutions are rampant, benefiting from high capacity IP fabrics. Brite-box hardware suppliers have enabled web-IT with procurement, logistics, and support capability that meets the needs of any organization. Network virtualization solutions from VMware NSX and up-and-comer Nuage are getting the nod in enterprises. The OpenStack community applied a laser-like focus on Neutron which in turn has promoted virtual network solutions from Akanda and Midokura to be deployed at scale. We’re seeing Continue reading
I had the honor of accepting two awards yesterday on behalf of the Cumulus Networks team. We’re pleased because the honors were awarded based on a broad poll of real people in real IT shops, including some of the world’s biggest enterprises and service providers. You can’t buy these; we didn’t even know that the poll was being taken. Those voters, who we think of as our IT brethren, chose us for “Bare Metal Switch OS Market Leader,” for one of only two “Special Achievement” awards (together with our partner, VMware), and three other accolades.
When we founded Cumulus Networks, we were driven by a vision of how high-capacity interconnect would change modern applications.
We set out to make great networking technology available to the masses, addressing three critical needs: affordability, an efficient operating model, and availability via a variety of channels. These tenants have become the definition of open networking.
To fulfill these goals, we built the company with IT professionals from all disciplines: development, operations, support and logistics. Continue reading
I hate getting into lengthy discussions regarding open networking (or bare-metal) pricing as there are benefits other than price. However, with so many people trying to understand the industry transition, I feel compelled to jump in when I see confusing information.
Forrester analyst Andre Kindness recently published a report called The Myth of White-Box Network Switches which is causing a pretty interesting debate. The discourse forms, as Andre puts it, “I think there is misunderstanding/reading my research. I’m not saying one solution is cheaper. It highlights the cost”; however, the title of the report necessarily creates bias. Luckily, we had a chance to speak with Andre to better understand his perspective and intentions as well as relay our observations.
For the hardcore, we’ve gone through some of the market basics in prior blog posts; most notably Democratizing Capacity and Death of the Multipler Effect. Some of the absolute numbers in those analyses have changed; however, these hold true and directly relate to both the points that Andre was trying to make as well as the gaps in his analysis.
The report makes two observations that we completely agree with. One is that, most of Continue reading
You know it needs to be done, it could be easy… or it could get messy, and you’re sure that the world will be a better place when you’re finished.
That’s the dilemma that some of our enterprise customers have when grappling with “the cloud.”
We’ve noticed a distinct trend among customers that grew up outside the “cloud era”; they’ve been trying to bolt “cloud” onto their legacy IT blueprint and it has been a struggle. They expected to realize operational and capital efficiencies that approximate high scale Internet businesses. Unfortunately, they are missing by a long shot.
At some point along the way, these customers realize that they need to be willing to drive structural change. They need to create a “cloud blueprint” for their applications and IT infrastructure. In some cases, this means a transition to public/hosted infrastructure; in other cases, it means building new private infrastructure based on cloud principles. In many cases, it’s a mixture of both.
When private cloud is part of the answer, we’ve consistently found design patterns built on infrastructure platforms like VMware vSphere and OpenStack and big data platforms such as Hortonworks. Customers want to get these services operational quickly so they often stay with Continue reading