Leslie Carr

Author Archives: Leslie Carr

Monitoring Our Network Infrastructure With Sensu

Cumulus Networks provides a service known as the Cumulus Workbench. This service is an infrastructure made of physical switches, virtual machines running in Google Compute Engine (GCE), virtual machines running on our own hardware and bare metal servers. It allows prospective customers and partners to prototype network topologies, test out different configuration management tools, and get a general feeling for open networking. The workbench is also utilized for our boot camp classes.

Right now, we are completely rewriting the workbench backend! Many of the changes that we’re making are to the technical plumbing, so they’re behind the scenes. Monitoring the various workbench components is critical, as any downtime can easily affect a prospective sale or even an in-progress training session. Since our infrastructure is a mix of virtual machines, physical servers and switches, I needed one place to help me monitor the health of the entire system.

We use Puppet for automating our internal infrastructure. I chose Puppet since it holds most of my operational experience, but I firmly believe that the best automation tool is the one that you choose to use! If you want more details on how we use Puppet for automation, I will be speaking in Continue reading

SCALE13x – My talk: Switch as a Server

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at SCALE13x in Los Angeles, on the Switch as a Server — treating your network switches in the same way you treat your servers.  It’s a topic I feel very strongly about!

As strong as my feelings are about open networking, I also love non-automotive forms of transportation!  So I decided to bike to the airport.  SFO has a lot of bicycle facilities so it was no problem to find parking.

Loaded Bike
My bike loaded up for the trip down


Leslie Airport
Slighty tired me at the airport after biking


Got to LA on the plane and then Rocket Turtle enjoyed the view by the airport!

Rocket Turtle LAX
Rocket Turtle loves watching the plane contrails


… and met some of our great customers!

Rocket Turtle meets Jonathan from Dreamhost
Rocket Turtle meets Jonathan from Dreamhost

Scale is a unique conference in that they encourage canine attendance  — doggies!


I met Simba.  Picture and Simba courtesy of @spazm
I meet Simba. Picture and Simba courtesy of @spazm

 Friday night I helped out with a birds of a feather (BOF) event, giving advice to job hunters.  Did I mention we’re hiring?

On Saturday evening I won the Weakest Geek — a Weakest Link-style geek-themed trivia contest, run this Continue reading

Cumulus Workbench – a year of progress

cumulus workbench

At VMworld 2013, before the Cumulus Workbench was born, Cumulus Networks needed a quick way to demonstrate Cumulus Linux.

One of our amazing engineers, Nat Morris, quickly whipped up a VM (almost out of nowhere), meant to run on virtualbox, on a laptop with two interfaces. Voila! Cumulus Workbench!

For a first effort and for lack of time, this was awesome. However, there were a few limitations, as you would imagine – flexibility was an issue and new features required distributing an entirely new VM. Plus, for the latest version, you had to ask around. This would be fine for a quick demo, but we wanted more. We wanted it to be bigger and better.

We put some thought behind what exactly bigger and better meant to us and too that to the drawing board. From there, we built a framework and began to deep dive into the design and architecture. We wanted to build something useful for customers so that they would be able to see what they could do in their own environment. It was at that moment that the Cumulus Workbench was born, thanks to a lot of elbow grease and hard work from Ratnakar Kolli.  Thus, Continue reading