Madison Emery

Author Archives: Madison Emery

Kernel of Truth episode 7: data center networking in APAC and EMEA

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We wanted to give this podcast a bit of international flair, so we invited some overseas guests into the recording booth. I’m joined by Attilla de Groot (Sales Engineer for EMEA) and Sutharsan Sivapalan (Sales Engineer for APAC), who filled me in on the networking customers, trends and challenges that are cropping up in their respective regions. There are definitely differences between these two ends of the world, but you’d be surprised how much these regions have in common despite the distance.

Tweet any questions, feedback or topics you want us to discuss at @cumulusnetworks and use the hashtag #KernelOfTruth — let us know if you like what you’re hearing!

Guest bios

Sutharsan Sivapalan: CCIE #40322 (Data Center), is a Senior Systems Engineer covering the US West and Asia-Pacific regions for Cumulus Networks. Prior to joining Cumulus, Sutharsan spent 6 years at Cisco designing and troubleshooting some of the most complex networks in the world, as a member of their Technical Services organisation. In that role, he supported the entire Data Centre portfolio, including UCS, the Nexus Continue reading

Kernel of Truth: Optical networking

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Let’s talk about lasers! In this episode of Kernel of Truth, I asked Product Manager Brian O’Sullivan (who you’ll remember from our episode about automation) and Principal Engineer Scott Emery to join me in the recording booth and chat about optical networking. We’ll get into topics like forward error correction, the divide between data center networking engineers and optical networking engineers, Voyager and Pink Floyd. Who knew that progressive rock had anything to do with optical networking?? (It doesn’t, really, but we somehow worked it in.)

So tune in and learn why an open packet optical platform is so innovative for optical networking and telco! And make sure to subscribe to the Kernel of Truth podcast so you stay up to date on the open networking revolution — get with the future of networking so you’re not just “Another Brick in the Wall!”

Tweet any questions, feedback or topics you want us to discuss at @cumulusnetworks and use the hashtag #KernelOfTruth — let us know if you like what you’re hearing!

Guest bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian Continue reading

Kernel of Truth episode 5.5 — Greg Farro talks Voyager

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If you enjoyed our previous episode about hyper-converged infrastructure, then you’re in for a real treat — the infamous Greg Ferro of Packet Pushers is back for a special BONUS episode of Kernel of Truth! We learned that once you get Greg and JR talking, it’s nearly impossible to get them to stop. So, we let them keep going and recorded an extra episode all about Voyager. Greg’s got questions about our open packet optical platform, and JR’s got answers. You’ll be impressed with how much awesome info and discussion they can fit into a mini episode!

Like what you’re hearing and want to talk about it with fellow Kernel of Truth fans? Good news! We’ve got a new Cumulus community forum for the podcast where you can chat with other podcast and networking aficionados. Be sure to check it out!

As always, you can tweet any questions, feedback or topics you want us to discuss at @cumulusnetworks and use the hashtag #KernelOfTruth — we want to hear from you, and give you content that you want to Continue reading

Kernel of Truth episode 5 — HCI, agility and the physical network

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If you’ve been waiting for a tech-heavy deep dive, then you’re in luck. In this episode we’re getting REAL nerdy — so we decided to bring out the big guns and invite two of the industry’s biggest networking geeks to discuss hyper-converged infrastructure. Naturally, we got our fearless co-founder and CTO JR Rivers into the recording booth so he could share his wisdom (and crack a few jokes, as usual).

And who did we invite to go toe-to-toe with JR on networking knowledge? None other than the one and only Greg Ferro, co-founder of Packet Pushers! We couldn’t be more excited that Greg agreed to join us in the recording booth and share his industry insights.

So, what data center networking topic did we decide was meaty enough for these guys to chew on? Because Greg and JR are all about looking toward the future and analyzing what they see coming up on the horizon, this episode is dedicated to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). How is HCI changing the way we look at network architecture? We’ll discuss these topics Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: July

Time for another Cumulus content roundup! We’ve been really busy this summer, so there’s a little bit of everything in this post: videos, industry news articles, new podcast episodes and even an entire book! So if you’ve got room on your summer reading list, be sure to add EVPN in the Data Center. Or, if you’ve got too much to do and can’t find time to sit down and read, grab a pair of headphones and listen to the latest episode of Kernel of Truth while you work. The choice is yours!

New from Cumulus

Kernel of Truth episode 03 — Linux: the kernel, the community & beyond: You can’t name an open networking podcast “Kernel of Truth,” and NOT have an episode dedicated to the Linux kernel! Listen to our discussion about the Linux community and why Linux belongs in the data center.

EVPN in the Data Center: This eBook cuts through the fog and explains how you can deploy this technology seamlessly in your data center. You’ll discover why EVPN can be simpler to use in data centers than in service provider networks.

Vault Systems customer video: As a cloud provider for the Australian government, Continue reading

Kernel of Truth Episode 04 — Cisco, disaggregation and the industry impact

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Click here for our previous episode.

On March 27, 2018, Cisco announced it was embracing disaggregation of the data center by allowing customers to run NX-OS on third-party switches and to use any network operating system on its Nexus switches. It’s certainly an interesting move, considering that they’re the company that claimed to have killed white-box networking.

…But does this model REALLY fit the definition of network disaggregation? What does true data center disaggregation look like? Why did Alanis Morissette name the song “Ironic” when none of the lyrics are examples of irony?? To answer these questions, I invited Ben Ritter (Consulting Engineer, Cumulus Networks) and Rama Darbha (Senior Consulting Engineer, who you’ll remember from our second episode — get ready for more #RamaRants!) into the recording booth so we can get to the bottom of this. In addition to breaking down the definition of data center disaggregation, Rama, Ben and I go full John Lennon and imagine a perfect world, where Cisco actually embraces the true spirit of disagreggation. How would this impact the industry? Imagine there’s no black box…it’s easy if Continue reading

Kernel of Truth episode 03 — Linux: the kernel, the community & beyond

Listen, you can’t name an open networking podcast “Kernel of Truth,” and NOT have an episode dedicated to the Linux kernel! So we got two of the brightest, most enthusiastic Linux experts we know into the recording booth and let them wax poetic about the language of the data center. As I soon found out, it’s harder to get Linux fans to STOP talking about Linux that it is to get them going — but hey, that just makes my job as host a lot easier! There’s nothing like listening to knowledgeable people discuss something they’re passionate about, and that’s what we’ve got in store for you.

In this episode, I’m joined by Roopa Prabhu, leader of the kernel team at Cumulus Networks, and Shrijeet Mukherjee, Cumulus’ former VP of Engineering. Specifically, our discussion revolves around the Linux kernel and Linux community. We get into some pretty interesting questions: why Linux in the data center? What has Cumulus contributed to the kernel? How has the prolific Linux community evolved? What the heck is a “boffin”?? I’m not a fan of spoilers, (thanks for ruining Avengers: Infinity War for me, Twitter!) so I’ll let you guys tune in and find Continue reading

Kernel of Truth episode 02 — Day 2 operations

Network monitoring, “Wonderwall” by Oasis, virtual test environments, Wu-Tang Clan (Cumulus Rules Everything Around Me!), validating configurations and cursed email chains. What do all of these things have in common? They’re all topics in Kernel of Truth’s second episode! Now, if you want to know HOW all of these seemingly random talking points fit together, you’ll have to listen for yourself, but the main focus of this discussion is Day 2 operations. Specifically, we get into important topics like:

  • The importance of accurate virtual environments
  • Managing configuration changes
  • How to handle updating configs and removing vulnerabilities
  • Why screenshots of Word documents make network operators die inside
  • And more!

Our guest panel consists of two networking ops experts from Cumulus Networks: Senior Consulting Engineer Rama Darbha (also known as “Tough Tiger Fist” according to the Wu-Tang name generator), who you’ll remember from our previous episode on network automation, and Technical Marketing Engineer Pete Lumbis (aka “Master Block Warrior”). These industry pros joined me (“Ungrateful Ambassador”) to provide first-hand experience and insight into why Day 2 operations deserve just as much attention as architectural design.

On another note, we’ve got some great news — Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: June

It’s officially summer time, so we’re bringing you the HOTTEST new content from Cumulus Networks in this month’s content roundup! Whether you want to layer on the sunscreen and enjoy our content while basking in the sun, or stay safe and cool indoors with your laptop and AC, you’re bound to enjoy what we’ve got in store for you. We’ve got new videos and white papers, and even a brand new official Cumulus Networks podcast for you to check out!

New from Cumulus:

Kernel of Truth Episode 01 – Networking Automation: “Kernel of Truth” is a Cumulus Networks podcast dedicated to bringing the best of open networking thought leadership straight to your ears. Listen to our very first episode where we discuss network automation and its impact on the industry!

5 Network automation tips and tricks for NetOps: In this white paper, we’ll give you five tips and tricks to get clarity around your automation decisions and reduce any friction that may be inhibiting (further) adoption of network automation. Check it out!

Joint solution overview: OpenStack and Cumulus Networks: By combining with Cumulus Linux, you can unify the entire stack on Linux, bringing together the OpenStack servers Continue reading

Introducing “Kernel of Truth” — a Cumulus Networks podcast!

There’s no doubt that we’re in the gilded age of podcasts. Anyone you ask has at least one or two podcasts that they love to listen to and won’t stop talking about! But you’re probably tired of hearing that one friend repeat every single episode of “This American Life.” You need a new, engaging show that focuses on thought leadership and the topics in data center networking that you care about. Something to liven up your commute and make a long work day fly by. Something to help you stay up to date and relevant in your networking  knowledge, hear about real examples of innovation in the data center and turn you into a super star employee that shoots up the career ladder. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, your search is finally over.

Seven years ago, Cumulus Networks took the world by storm and rocked the data center. Today, we’re giving the podcasting world a healthy dose of Cumulus goodness — introducing the official Cumulus Networks podcast, “Kernel of Truth!”

Why are we starting a podcast? In addition to wanting to share our thoughts and insight about all things networking, including automation, disaggregation, data center interconnect Continue reading

Troubleshoot like a pro with tcpdump

When it comes to troubleshooting, everyone talks about the power of the command tcpdump — after all, “the wire never lies.” But to really use it, you need to put in some time to understand the options. Let us save you some time and give you a quick overview of this powerful tool. You’ll be troubleshooting like a pro in no time!

What is tcpdump and why does it matter?

For those unfamiliar with this powerful command, tcpdump is a packet analyzer that prints out a description of packets being transmitted or received over a network. Each line of output represents a packet. Every line includes a time stamp printed as hours, minutes, seconds, and fractions of a second since midnight. It will also show you packets dropped, packets received by the filter (which can vary depending on your OS) and packets dropped by kernel. Essentially, tcpdump does exactly what its name implies — it “dumps” all the information you need about the content of packets in the CLI so you can analyze it for yourself.

So, why is this so important for troubleshooting? Think of it this way. When box isn’t acting right, seeing what you are getting Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: May

Hope you brought your networking acronyms dictionary with you – this month’s Cumulus content roundup is going full tech-geek and we’re NOT ashamed! We’re brushing up on EVPN, ECMP, DWDM and TGIF (okay, not the last one. But did that make you LOL?) See a term that makes you go WTF? Don’t worry — we’ve got webinars, videos, blog posts and more to help you differentiate between BGP and OMG.

From Cumulus Networks:

EVPN content hub: Deploying EVPN enables you to enhance your layer 3 data center with benefits such as multitenancy, scalability, ARP suppression and more. Don’t know where to begin? Browse this EVPN resources page to learn more about how you can incorporate EVPN into your Cumulus network.

Celebrating ECMP in Linux — part one: Equal Cost Multi-Path (ECMP) routes are a big component of all the super-trendy data center network designs that are en vogue right now. Read part one of this series about ECMP’s history, how it’s evolved and what Cumulus is doing to help.

Networking how-to video — What is Voyager?: Voyager is a Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) platform Facebook brought to the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), bringing the first Continue reading

NetDevOpEd: Open source principles give the workplace soul

If you’ve been tuning into Cumulus content lately, you probably know all about our initiative to bring S.O.U.L (Simple, Open, Untethered Linux) into networking — and for the uninitiated, feel free to check out our S.O.U.L page to learn all about the movement! It’s clear that our company and technology have S.O.U.L, but what does that look like in the office? Anyone who’s spent time at our office, in our bootcamps, with our people, etc. can feel that Cumulus Networks has “soul,” and this time we’re not talking about the acronym. We’ve got a passion, substance, life and feeling that pulses throughout our space like a funky bass line.

How do I know this? Well, I work at Cumulus, but it’s more than that. My former employers (before I started working at Cumulus Networks) are pretty varied, ranging from a restaurant to a university, but all of those jobs had one thing in common — they had no soul. To these Pink Floyd-ian businesses, employees were just cogs in the machine meant to forfeit passion for profit. Each day I dragged myself out of bed, drudged Continue reading

Introducing “Cooking with Cumulus” – Episode one

Alright, we know you’re hungry for more Cumulus goodness, so we’ve cooked up something new that we think will satiate your appetite for awesome technical content. It’s the perfect mix of one part technical deep-dive, one part fun and just a pinch of silliness. The wait is over — our latest project is hot, fresh and ready to serve!

Okay, enough teasing. Today we’re introducing the new Cumulus Networks video series “Cooking with Cumulus!”

“Wait, what does cooking have to do with networking??” you may think to yourself. Glad you asked. You may already know JR Rivers as the CTO and co-founder of Cumulus Networks, but did you know he’s also a master of the culinary arts? Here at the Mountain View office, we know it’s the start of a good day when JR brings in his homemade food to share. From chocolate chip cookies to paella, we’ve approved (and enjoyed) his many recipes. So, we decided that we wanted to share that gift with the rest of the Cumulus community by combining two of JR’s greatest passions — networking and cooking. The resulting brain child was a video series where we put two networking nerds in a Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: April

It’s the beginning of a brand new month, and you know what that means… it’s time for the Cumulus content roundup! This month, we can’t stop talking about leveraging Linux and disaggregation — and it looks like we’re not the only ones who have white-box fever (congrats on joining the movement, Cisco)! All the webinars, videos and white papers you could ask for are included in this roundup, so grab a comfy seat and check out everything that piques your interest.

The latest from Cumulus

The S.O.U.L revolution: The era of oppressive traditional networking ends today! It’s time to add some S.O.U.L to your data center network. What does S.O.U.L stand for? Watch this video to find out and get into the movement that’s revolutionizing the way we think about networking.

Web-scale networking for telco: Cumulus Networks commissioned Heavy Reading to conduct a survey of 70+ IT leaders in the Telco and CSP space to understand what is top of mind in terms of IT priorities. Download this white paper to see what we discovered about their top concerns.

Why Linux in the data center: a fireside chat: Continue reading

Rewind & recap: OCP Summit 2018

As you probably know, Cumulus Networks is an active contributor and enthusiastic member of the OCP community. So naturally, we couldn’t bear to miss OCP Summit 2018! The summit was held in San Jose from March 20th – 21st, and believe us, if you’re into open source anything, it was THE place to be. From BoF sessions to engineering workshops and everything in-between, there’s so much to talk about — but we’ll spare you an essay-length article and keep this short blog limited to our absolute favorite Cumulus OCP Summit highlights from the event. So whether you’re an OCP fan that couldn’t make it or you’re an attendee that wants to reminisce, check out these stellar moments from OCP Summit 2018.

Cumulus’ OCP projects

It was great to hear Omar Baldonado from Facebook give Backpack a shoutout during his keynote address. With the support of OCP, we’ve teamed up our OS with Celestica’s hardware to bring this project to fruition, and what better place to highlight this venture than at OCP Summit? As Baldonado points out, “Cumulus also has been a very long standing partner and contributor and driver within the OCP community,” and we intend to continue those efforts. Continue reading

Join us at OCP Summit 2018!

Like a kid waiting to open a birthday present, there’s a special kind of excitement buzzing around the Cumulus Networks office. As March 20th-21st draws closer and closer, you can feel the energy going up. Why is that you ask? It’s because that’s the date of OCP Summit 2018, of course! In just a few weeks, we’ll be on our way to the San Jose Convention Center to join up with the OCP community and discuss all the nerdy goodness we can about open networking. We’re looking forward to meeting as many great minds and innovators as we can (and fortunately, it’s not too late for you to sign up!) As members of the Open Compute Project, we cannot wait for this event.

Hold on, what’s OCP?

For those unfamiliar with this amazing project, Open Compute Project (OCP) was started by Facebook in 2009 with the goal to create the world’s most energy efficient data center — one that could scale at any level at the lowest possible cost. Their four core tenets focus on increasing efficiency, improving scalability, maintaining openness and making an impact. A small team of engineers remained dedicated to these tenets and, 2 Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: March

Welcome back to the Cumulus content roundup! This month we’re all about trying new networking solutions and practices. Whether it’s experimenting with EVPN or allowing automation to improve your network, we’re providing you with everything you need to help you start testing out the waters. We’ve got webinars, white papers and more to guide you, so get out your compass and start navigating the new world of networking!

What’s cooking at Cumulus?

The business benefits of Cumulus EVPN: Cumulus Ethernet Virtual Private Network (EVPN) is here to provide the solutions to your architectural complexities and make your data center even more efficient. Don’t believe us? Read this EVPN white paper to learn about the high-level business benefits your organization can leverage with Cumulus EVPN.

Networking in the container age: You definitely don’t want to miss this webinar! In this episode, you’ll learn about the popular container networking models and the pros and cons of each. Watch it now and find out how to best leverage orchestration tools such as Docker and Kubernetes.

5 Ways you can leverage the Linux community for your data center network: One of the greatest advantages of using a network operating system based Continue reading

What it means to be an “automation first” enterprise

We’ve previously discussed how automation can give engineers some well-deserved extra free time. So how do those benefits extend to helping the company as a whole? Well, according to TechTarget’s article analyzing Gartner’s recent report about network innovation, there are some pretty obvious indicators that a company is putting automation first and achieving success. All a business has to do is take advantage of the automation practices used by hyperscale data centers. While it may sound impossible to operate on the same level as cloud giants like Amazon and Facebook, Gartner’s report states that there is a remarkable increase in efficiency and agility enterprises mimic from even 1% to 10% of the practices in hyperscale data centers. In this post, we’ll discuss what it looks like to be an “automation first” enterprise. And from what we can tell, it looks pretty good!

Reduced costs

Adopting automation doesn’t just save you time — it also saves you money. Let’s start with the fact that proprietary solutions are incredibly expensive on their own. In addition to steep initial costs, proprietary vendors prevent additional savings by not allowing customers to take advantage of automation tools like Ansible, Puppet and Chef. However, these capabilities Continue reading

Top 5 moments from Networking Field Day 2017

Did you miss Cumulus Networks’ session at Networking Field Day 2017 on February 26th? Or maybe you tuned in, and you want to reminisce on the best moments? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our top five favorite highlights from Technical Marketing Engineer Pete Lumbis’ presentation about managing EVPN/VXLAN. (You can also watch the whole session here, if you’d prefer to hear it from the man himself. Prepare for an intelligent demonstration peppered with some good laughs!)

5) The Legos of Linux

It makes sense to start with the basics, and that’s exactly how we begin the presentation. In a daring move, Pete decides to illustrate Cumulus Linux’s capabilities sans-Powerpoint, and whiteboards the architecture of a Mellanox switch running our OS.

managing EVPN/VXLAN

One of the great things about Cumulus technology is that it’s all based in Linux. So, any configurations you would make on a Linux device are exactly the same on Cumulus Linux. Simple, right? That’s exactly our goal — allowing customers to easily customize their network as they see fit with basic building blocks. As Pete describes it, building the network is like “taking those Lego pieces and turning them into Saturn V.” Continue reading