Barry Peddycord

Author Archives: Barry Peddycord

Cumulus Linux and Ansible — now easier than ever

Back in November, Cumulus Networks unveiled NCLU, an interactive command-line interface for configuring switches running Cumulus Linux. NCLU was made to help networking experts drive Linux without having to learn its intricacies and quirks, and so far, it has been very successful. Network engineers are comfortable configuring devices interactively, so NCLU helps abstract the file-based nature of Linux to smooth out the learning curve.

Since I started working at Cumulus Networks over two years ago, I’ve noticed that most of our customers who are working with us for the first time fall neatly into two categories. The majority of our users are experienced network engineers with very little Linux knowledge, whereas a minority are Linux server power-users who may only know the basics of networking. Most of my colleagues at Cumulus are networking industry veterans who started off in the first category, while I fell into the latter. I’ve always been an automation-first developer who applies web-scale principles to everything I do, meaning that from the first day I started configuring Cumulus Linux, I was doing so with tools like Ansible. With the release of Ansible 2.3, I’m happy to report that Ansible now supports NCLU out of Continue reading

Container networking: What is it and how can it help your data center?

There has been a lot of buzz in the industry about containers and how they are streamlining organizational processes. In short, containers are a modern application sandboxing mechanism that are gaining popularity in all aspects of computing from the home desktop to web-scale enterprises. In this post we’ll cover the basics: what is container networking and how can it help your data center? In the future, we’ll cover how you can optimize a web-scale network using Cumulus Linux and containers.

What is a container?

A container is an isolated execution environment on a Linux host that behaves much like a full-featured Linux installation with its own users, file system, processes and network stack. Running an application inside of a container isolates it from the host and other containers, meaning that even when the applications inside of them are running as root, they can not access or modify the files, processes, users, or other resources of the host or other containers.

Containers have become popular due to the way they simplify the process of installing and running an application on a Linux server. Applications can have a complicated web of dependencies. The newest version of an application may require a newer Continue reading

My First Week at Cumulus Networks

From the first time I spoke with someone at Cumulus Networks, I realized I’d come across something spectacular. My interviews started with a “screening” call from Nat Morris, but it didn’t start with any of those awkward “tell me about yourself” ice-breaker questions. Nat immediately began the conversation with a detailed description of the Cumulus Workbench, his plans for where to take it, and what I thought about them. For someone like me, being able to talk candidly about a concrete project made it easy for me to see myself in the position, and I felt like I was being treated as if I were already a part of the company. This conversation left such a powerful impression that it literally carried me through the entire interview process.

I started on the day before the RDU team moved from the Apex office to the new office in Cary. All of the furniture was gone, everyone was huddled at folding card tables, and I ended up sitting on the floor in another room since we didn’t have enough chairs even after borrowing some from the restaurant next door! The team assured me that it wasn’t a bait-and-switch by showing me Continue reading