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The future of HCI

You may have noticed already but HCI has been on our minds lately. We’ve talked about it in-depth in our recent white paper and JR Rivers, Cumulus Networks co-founder & CTO, has shared more about it in relation to a network of pods in his on-demand webinar. JR will share more about his take in an upcoming Kernel of Truth podcast episode but in the meantime, we’ll get Naveen Chhabra’s, a senior industry analyst at Forrester, opinion on the future of HCI.

We sat down with him recently to discuss this and here’s what he had to say.

Question: Why is the network such a critical consideration in any hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) deployment?

Let’s look at the major transformational projects the organizations globally are working on. One project that spans all organizations, verticals, and geographies is digital transformation. IT leaders upgrade or acquire new technologies to support these projects. One pertinent issue across a large percentage of projects is that these are still focused on technology silos.

Specific to HCI, organizations have successfully collapsed the compute and storage silo. Network infrastructure is still not integrated to the extent that it could and should be. Firms have the capability, via HCI, Continue reading

ngrok on Cumulus Linux

If you’ve landed on this page, you likely already have a good idea of what ngrok is and what it does. For those that don’t, the reader’s digest version is that it’s a simple way to securely tunnel to a device that sits behind a firewall/NAT device. It’s a slick implementation that is easy to install and allows a few different tunneling options. For the purpose of this blog, we’re using ssh and eliminating the need for port forwarding on the firewall.

Here are step-by-step instructions for turning up ngrok ssh services on Cumulus Linux. Note that these instructions work on the default VRF. You’ll need to take additional configuration steps to get this to work on Cumulus Linux with mgmt VRF enabled.

First, install the unzip package from the repo

Then wget the ngrok application, or optionally add the appropriate repo to your /etc/apt/sources.list and use apt to pull the package. You’ll obviously want to find the appropriate package for your switch (x86 or ARM).

If you don’t know the download link, navigate to https://dashboard.ngrok.com/get-started and copy the link address on the web link of the download section (right click the download link to snag the Continue reading

Installing Cumulus packages on air-gapped equipment

From time to time I run into situations where someone would like to install the Cumulus Linux operating system as well as additional packages that aren’t part of the default binary install package. This short excerpt is meant to assist in helping get those additional packages into an air-gapped environment for the install where you don’t have a repo or mirror available to pull from.

For instance, let’s say we want to install TACACS+ on an air-gapped switch and we don’t have access to a mirrored repo. There is a very tedious method which I’ll outline first, then there is the more Linux admin like option which is much more streamlined.

One thing that could be done is to run through the install on a switch with outside connectivity, gather the package and dependency info… manually pull the deb’s off of the repo on whatever media you are using to transfer files to the new switch. Then copy all of the packages over and install them. It’s the hard way, but sometimes that’s the road we have to take.

The long way

Pull the package list from a switch connected to the repo:

All of the packages should be in Continue reading

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 7: Certifications

Subscribe to Kernel of Truth on iTunes, Google Play, SpotifyCast Box and Sticher!

Click here for our previous episode.

In a recent podcast, we talked with our friend Angelo Luciani from Nutanix about the value of being part of a community and what that can mean for your career. We continue along that train of thought in this podcast but pivot over to the topic industry certifications. Host Brian talks again to Nick Mitchell and Eric Pulvino, two of our consultants who’ve not only taken certifications throughout their career but worked on and helped to create our open networking certification. Listen as they discuss the value of them, if any, what works for certifications and what doesn’t, who should be taking certifications and more!

As Brian mentions in the podcast, we have a social game going on for 2019 where you can win some fun prizes. Part of the game includes some flash give-aways of free CCOMP certification exam registration and more!  Head over to our EPIC Year Game page to learn more or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Guest Bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian currently heads Product Management for Cumulus Linux. For 15 or so Continue reading

Minipack Highlight Video from OCP Summit

Minipack is an open, modular super spine switch and is the most recent addition to the industry’s open modular switches. Paired with the flexibility and cost benefits of Cumulus Linux OS, the platform is ideal for deploying the next generation of high-capacity data center fabrics. Based on Broadcom’s StrataXGS Tomahawk III Switch Series, Minipack is more powerful than other chassis while occupying a smaller footprint.

Together, Cumulus Networks and Edgecore Networks are bringing the hyperscale that was once only available to the largest enterprises to an entirely new segment of the market with Minipack.

Listen to Brian Sullivan, Sr Director of Product Management at Cumulus Networks and Michael Lane, VP of Business Development at Edgecore Networks as they discuss the recently launched Minipack, open, modular switch.

Minipack Announcement Blog
Minipack Datasheet
Edgecore Networks Minipack launch Press Release
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions, or via Twitter at @CicconeScott.

Cumulus content roundup: April

You know we like to stay busy here at Cumulus Networks, and April was no exception! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite podcasts, blog posts, and articles in case you missed them. So settle in and get ready for all things open networking!

From Cumulus Networks:

RIP up your dynamic routing with OSPF: Let’s RIP right into the ins and outs of Routing Information Protocol and Open Shortest Path First in this blog post by Keith Ward. Here we’ll discuss all things IGPs, history of RIPS and what you need to know about OSPFs.

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 5: The power of community: Grab a pair of headphones and tune into Season 2 Episode 5 of our podcast, Kernel of Truth. In this episode, Brian O’ Sullivan talks with Angelo Luciani from Nutanix and our own Pete Lumbis about the power of community and self-service. Learn about the resources available surrounding building community and the importance of it all.

Cumulus NetQ Reinvented
Did you hear the news? We are pleased to announce the launch of our newest product, Cumulus NetQ! Cumulus NetQ is a highly-scalable, modern network operations toolset that provides visibility into and troubleshooting Continue reading

Campus design feature set-up : Part 3

We’ve said it before but since it’s important we’ll say it again. Shared knowledge makes for a stronger ecosystem! With this in mind, I’m showing you how to set up the CL 3.7.5 campus feature: Multi-Domain Authentication in a 6-part blog series.

In this series we’re covering it all: Wired MAC Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Multi-Domain Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Wired 802.1x using Cisco ISE, Wired MAC Authentication using Cisco ISE, and Multi-Domain Authentication using Cisco ISE.

This third guide is how to enable Multi-Domain Authentication in Cumulus Linux 3.7.5 + using Aruba ClearPass 6.7.x.

Keep in mind that this step-by-step guide assumes that you have already performed an initial setup of Aruba ClearPass and read the following Wired 802.1x using Aruba ClearPass and Wired MAC Authentication using Aruba ClearPass.

Over the past year, Cumulus Networks has made a concerted effort to expand the breadth and scope of the campus features within Cumulus Linux. Hot off the press in 3.7.5 is one of those features, Multi-Domain Authentication (MDA).

Classically, MDA allows for a voice VLAN and data VLAN to be configured independently on the same switch port for a VoIP Continue reading

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 6: Infrastructure as code

 

Subscribe to Kernel of Truth on iTunes, Google Play, SpotifyCast Box and Sticher!

Click here for our previous episode.

Our consultants are often the first to hear about trends and issues that customers and the industry as a whole are seeing and dealing with. Recently we’ve found that quite a few were unaware of what “infrastructure as code” is so we thought, let’s demystify it for everyone! Host Brian talks to Nick Mitchell and Eric Pulvino, two of our consultants who have first-hand knowledge about the topic and share not only what it is but what the problems infrastructure as code is solving for and why you should care! As you listen beware, there may be a “dad joke” and an attempt at Buzzword Bingo along the way. Apparently, it can’t be helped when you’re talking about “git.”

Guest Bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian currently heads Product Management for Cumulus Linux. For 15 or so years he’s held software Product Management positions at Juniper Networks as well as other smaller companies. Once he saw the change that was happening in the networking space, he decided to join Cumulus Networks to be a part of the Continue reading

Cumulus NetQ Reinvented

When it comes to visibility into the health of your network. telemetry is all the rage these days. Even so, many customers are still plowing through old SNMP and Flow data to try to piece together what went wrong in their network with no easy way to back the clock up to a time before something broke your spine or leaf! Network downtime is usually costly and for many customers, large and small, can be mission critical.

With these and many other reasons in mind, I’m really excited to introduce Cumulus NetQ. With NetQ, Cumulus Networks has reinvented, from the ground up, our original NetQ product to include a long list of very useful features that are sure to make NetQ a Network Operators best friend.

Figure 1: Cumulus NetQ Benefits

NetQ is a highly-scalable, modern network operations toolset that provides visibility into and troubleshooting of your overlay and underlay networks in real-time. NetQ, delivers actionable insights and operational intelligence about the health of your network and your Linux-based data center — from the container, virtual machine, or host, all the way to the switch and port. In short, NetQ provides holistic, real-time intelligence about your modern network.

So, what Continue reading

Campus design feature set-up : Part 2

To catch you up to speed quickly, I have a six-part blog series that will show you how to set up the CL 3.7.5 campus design feature: Multi-Domain Authentication. 

We’ll cover it all: Wired 802.1X Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Wired MAC Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Multi-Domain Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Wired 802.1x using Cisco ISE, Wired MAC Authentication using Cisco ISE, and Multi-Domain Authentication using Cisco ISE.

In the last blog, I showed you how to enable wired 802.1X authentication in Cumulus Linux 3.7.5+ using Aruba ClearPass 6.7.x. In this second guide, I’ll be sharing is how to enable wired MAC Authentication in Cumulus Linux 3.7.5+ using Aruba ClearPass 6.7.x.

Keep in mind that this step-by-step guide assumes that you have already performed an initial setup of Aruba ClearPass.

Aruba ClearPass Configuration:

1. Add the Cumulus Switch to ClearPass

First, we are going to add this specific Cumulus Network switch to ClearPass. Go to the following:

Configuration > Network > Devices. Click “+Add” in the top right-hand corner

Fill in the appropriate IP Address, Description, and Shared Secrets. For simplicity sake, set the “Vendor Name” to Continue reading

Campus design feature set-up : Part 1

Shared knowledge makes for a stronger ecosystem and with this in mind, I’m going to show you how to set up the CL 3.7.5 campus feature: Multi-Domain Authentication in a 6-part blog series. 

We’ll cover it all: Wired MAC Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Multi-Domain Authentication using Aruba ClearPass, Wired 802.1x using Cisco ISE, Wired MAC Authentication using Cisco ISE, and Multi-Domain Authentication using Cisco ISE. 

The first guide I’ll be sharing is how to enable wired 802.1X authentication in Cumulus Linux 3.7.5+ using Aruba ClearPass 6.7.x. 

Keep in mind that this step-by-step guide assumes that you have already performed an initial setup of Aruba ClearPass.

Aruba ClearPass Configuration:

1. Add the Cumulus Switch to ClearPass

First, we are going to add this specific Cumulus Network switch to ClearPass. Go to the following:

Configuration > Network > Devices. Click “+Add” in the top right-hand corner

Fill in the appropriate IP Address, Description, and Shared Secrets. For simplicity sake, set the “Vendor Name” to “Cisco.”

2. Adding the Cumulus Switch to a Device Group

Configuration > Network  > Device Groups. Click “+Add” in the top right-hand corner

We are Continue reading

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 5: The power of community

Subscribe to Kernel of Truth on iTunes, Google Play, SpotifyCast Box and Sticher!

Click here for our previous episode.

From developer days to hackathons and from events to forums, Slack and social media included- there’s a community out there waiting for you! In this episode, host Brian talks to community evangelist for Nutanix Angelo Luciani and our own Pete Lumbis about the power of community and self-service. What are the perks, both personally and professionally, that you get when you’re actively participating in a community? What are some communities and resources we’ve found useful? Grab a taco, listen and find out. We promise you’ll get the taco reference after listening.

Guest Bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian currently heads Product Management for Cumulus Linux. For 15 or so years he’s held software Product Management positions at Juniper Networks as well as other smaller companies. Once he saw the change that was happening in the networking space, he decided to join Cumulus Networks to be a part of the open networking innovation. When not working, Brian is a voracious reader and has held a variety of jobs, including bartending in three countries and working as an extra in a German Continue reading

RIP Up Your Dynamic Routing With OSPF

What is dynamic routing? Why is Routing Information Protocol (RIP) horrible, and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) ever so slightly less horrible? How does Linux handle OSPF, and what advantages does it bring over traditional networking gear in complex, intent-based, infrastructure-as-code environments?

RIP and OSPF are Interior Gateway Protocols (IGPs). IGPs are protocols designed to allow network routers and switches within an organization’s internal network to dynamically reconfigure the network to respond to changes. These changes may include the addition or removal of network equipment or network links between network devices.

The purpose of IGPs is to tell networking equipment which devices live where. While devices that are part of the same subnet can find one another, they require a router to communicate with devices on other subnets. Routers and switches keep routing tables of which devices are on which physical interface, and VLAN. These routing tables allow each device to know where to send a packet to reach a given system, and whether or not that packet needs to be encapsulated or tagged.

IGPs allow routers and switches to exchange some or all of their routing tables so that other devices within the network fabric know where to send Continue reading

Cumulus content roundup: March

Did you feel like you missed any of our great blogs or podcasts this month? We had a lot of great ones to choose from in our March content roundup and on top of that, we had a lot of great industry articles and videos we shared that you can easily access below too! Spend a minute or two, or maybe even sixty to digest it all and increase your overall knowledge. Happy trails!

From Cumulus Networks:

Cumulus Networks is excited to announce being the first to power Facebook’s next generation, open modular platform, Minipack: With this news being announced at the recent OCP Summit 2019, we provided this helpful blog with links to everything you need to know about the announcement including data sheets etc.

The multicloud we need, but not the one we deserve: How can you take advantage of multi-cloud deployments without completely ditching Continue reading

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 4: Integrated network telemetry

Subscribe to Kernel of Truth on iTunes, Google Play, SpotifyCast Box and Sticher!

Click here for our previous episode.

Telemetry, is it cool or not? Host Brian tries to wrangle in JR Rivers and Scott Raynovich to find out in our latest episode. Will he succeed? Or, more importantly, what does integrated networking telemetry mean and why should you care? Listen and find out although pro tip: make sure you listen to the whole episode to find out what surprising band JR has been listening to.

Guest Bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian currently heads Product Management for Cumulus Linux. For 15 or so years he’s held software Product Management positions at Juniper Networks as well as other smaller companies. Once he saw the change that was happening in the networking space, he decided to join Cumulus Networks to be a part of the open networking innovation. When not working, Brian is a voracious reader and has held a variety of jobs, including bartending in three countries and working as an extra in a German soap opera. You can find him on Twitter at @bosullivan00.

Scott Raynovich: Scott is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Futuriom. Founded in Continue reading

The Importance of sFlow and NetFlow in Data Center Networks

As networks get more complex, and higher-speed interconnects are required, in-depth information about the switches serving these networks becomes crucial to maintain quality-of-service, perform billing, and manage traffic in a shared environment.

Some of you reading this blog post may already be familiar with “sFlow,” an industry-standard technology for monitoring high-speed switched networks and obtaining insights about the data traversing them. This blog post will focus on the importance of sFlow and the similar technology, “NetFlow,” in large – and getting larger – data centers.

Comparing sFlow and NetFlow

sFlow and NetFlow are technologies that, by sampling traffic flows between ports on a switch or interfaces on a router, can provide data about network activity, such as uplink load, total bandwidth used, graphs of history, and so on. To take this data and put it into a form that’s easily digestable, there is NfSen, a web-based front-end for these tools.

While sFlow and NetFlow may – at least on the surface – sound the same, they have underlying protocol differences that may be relevant, depending on your use case. sFlow is, as previously stated, an industry-standard technology. This dramatically increases the chances the sFlow agent (the piece of Continue reading

Buzzword bingo: NetDevOps edition

Looking at the marketing landscape for IT, you could be forgiven for thinking that the current strategy was to dynamite a word factory and use the resulting debris as marketing content. DevSecOps. NetDevOps. Ops, ops, spam, eggs, spam, and DevSpamOps.

The naming trend lends itself easily to parody, but it began as shorthand for an attempt to solve real IT problems. And its iterations have more in common than a resemblance to alphabet salad. What lies beneath the buzzwords? And do you need to care?

Countless companies have jumped on the NetDevOps bandwagon, all with their own way of doing things; and most are utterly incompatible with everyone else. Some may have already abandoned the NetDevOps craze, believing it to be nothing but marketing hype wrapped around a YAML parser and some scripts. Others might have found a system that works for them and swear by it, using nothing else for provisioning.

Regardless of views, a system that allows for rapid provisioning and re-provisioning of applications, containers, virtual machines, and network infrastructure is paramount.

Ministry of Silly Names: A History

The modern era of namesmashing started with DevOps. This made a sort of sense because, before this, IT had Continue reading

The Multicloud We Need, But Not the One We Deserve

Large organizations are married to the VMware suite of products. We can quibble about numbers for adoption of Hyper-V and KVM, but VMware dominates the enterprise virtualization market, just as Kubernetes is the unquestioned champion of containers.

Virtual Machines (VMs) are a mature technology, created and refined before large-scale adoption of public cloud services. Cloud-native workloads are often designed for containers, and containerized workloads are designed to fail. You can tear one down on one cloud, and reinstantiate it on another. Near-instant reinastantiation is the defense against downtime.

VMs take a different approach. A VM is meant to keep existing for long periods of time, despite migrations and outages. Failure is to be avoided as much as possible. This presents a problem as more organizations pursue a multi-cloud IT strategy.

The key technology for highly available VMs is vMotion: the ability to move a VM from one node in a cluster to another with no downtime. However, as data centers themselves become increasingly virtualized, using cloud computing services such as Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, and Amazon EC2, there’s a growing requirement to be able to move VMs between cloud infrastructures. This is not a supported feature of vMotion.

Routed Continue reading

Cumulus Networks is Excited to Announce being the First to Power Facebook’s Next Generation, Open Modular Platform, Minipack

Cumulus Networks, the leader in building open, modern and scalable networks, announced at OCP Summit that Cumulus Linux is the first network operating system to fully support the Minipack next-generation modular switch platform. Developed by Edgecore and contributed by Facebook to the Open Compute Project, Minipack empowers organizations of all sizes to architect, design and scale their infrastructure with unprecedented flexibility, capacity and interoperability.

Figure 1: Minipack Modular Chassis

Minipack is a modular switch platform, which means together, Cumulus Networks and Edgecore are bringing the benefits of web-scale networking to the mainstream. Minipack follows the open networking principles of disaggregation that allow customers to maintain consistent automated provisioning across all their switches of different form-factors (fixed or chassis).

Minipack leverages the latest ASIC technology from Broadcom including the Tomahawk III, the industry’s highest performance switch silicon. Compared to its predecessor, Backpack, Minipack is ½ the height, uses ½ the power and offers equivalent capacity making it one of the most operationally efficient open networking data center spine switches available today.

Additionally, Minipack offers either 100GE or 400GE options with Field Replaceable Port Interface Modules (PIM)’s in the following form factors:

Kernel of Truth season 2 episode 3: Storage solutions

Subscribe to Kernel of Truth on iTunes, Google Play, SpotifyCast Box and Sticher!

Click here for our previous episode.

You asked for it, we listened, and now we’re delivering! This episode, host Brian calls on Pete Lumbis and special guest David Illes from Mellanox to answer a question we got on our community Slack channel: “What are middle-tier customers doing for storage of Cumulus enabled solutions?” David and Pete share not only what’s changing for middle-tier customers but also tackle the topic of storage solutions in general. What sort of things are we seeing as customers migrate to Ethernet storage? Listen and find out.

Guest Bios

Brian O’Sullivan: Brian currently heads Product Management for Cumulus Linux. For 15 or so years he’s held software Product Management positions at Juniper Networks as well as other smaller companies. Once he saw the change that was happening in the networking space, he decided to join Cumulus Networks to be a part of the open networking innovation. When not working, Brian is a voracious reader and has held a variety of jobs, including bartending in three countries and working as an extra in a German soap opera. You can find him Continue reading

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