Cumulus Networks® Extends Server Standard to Networking for Radically Faster Integration of Switches with Network OS

Extension of ACPI standard to bare metal switches accelerates platform availability for more open networking use cases

San Jose, California, OCP U.S. Summit 2015, March 10, 2015Cumulus Networks®, provider of the Cumulus® Linux® operating system for open networking, today announced a new industry standard for networking hardware and operating system (OS) integration. Cumulus Networks has extended ACPI, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface that is the standard for OS integration with servers, laptops and desktop computers, to now support network OS integration with bare metal switches. The new expansion to this specification, called ACPI Platform Description, or APD, allows hardware providers to rapidly and more easily integrate network OSes, accelerating the proliferation of bare metal switches and providing customers choice of a broadened range of designs. The company also announced the Open Hardware program to accelerate the partner onboarding process and go-to-market collaboration.

“Great networking no longer requires a vendor-locked stack,” said Reza Malekzadeh, VP of Business, Cumulus Networks. “With APD for bare metal switches, networking is catching up with the server business. Now it’s all about cloud economics, speed of service delivery and a robust solutions ecosystem. This is a pivotal moment for the industry as open networking enters the mainstream. We’re pleased to announce Cumulus Linux support for APD along with our hardware partners.”

Cumulus Networks contributed the Open Networking Install Environment, ONIE, to the Open Compute Project (OCP) to simplify OS loading. The company will now further the OCP goal of rapid innovation by contributing APD to the Project to simplify OS integration. Hardware vendors use APD to describe each platform to the network OS in a standard, machine-readable language. APD documentation and generic drivers will be contributed to the Linux kernel also, to give all network OS vendors the opportunity to speed time to market with hardware platforms.

“Openness promotes progress. Open information and open tools allow the best minds from all over the world to innovate and make technology better, driving down costs and driving up efficiency and effectiveness. In contrast, in a closed loop system, it’s hard to figure out how to control costs or innovation,” said Corey Bell, CEO, Open Compute Foundation. “With the APD contribution to OCP, Cumulus Networks is enabling this kind of community innovation which in turn will allow more organizations to leverage open hardware.”

“As an innovation center, Orange Silicon Valley is welcoming the APD contribution by Cumulus Networks," said Jérome Laudouar, Orange’s VP of Infrastructure, Engineering, and Technologies. "The ACPI standardization has been positive to the whole industry. APD will facilitate the integration of new players in a complex space that is seeing a fair amount of disruption lately. The vision is to manage network gear similarly to servers, in a fully automated and commodity fashion. Cumulus Networks, ONIE, APD and the Open Compute Project definitely help us to demonstrate that capability in our labs.”

Cumulus Networks also announced today the Open Hardware (OH) program as part of their Technology Ecosystem Partner (TEP) framework. This program supports hardware vendors as they become official partners, defines the joint development framework, and outlines go to market collaboration. The TEP-OH program initially includes Agema Systems, DELL, Edge-Core Networks, HP, Penguin Computing and Quanta. So far there are 21 bare metal switching platforms on the Cumulus Linux hardware compatibility list, and with its support for APD, the company expects its hardware compatibility list to expand significantly.

“The extension of the ACPI specification to networking allows hardware vendors to control their own time to market with bare metal switch offerings,” said Eli Karpilovski, Director of Product Marketing at Broadcom. “APD will enable shorter cycle time between the release of new switching technologies and the availability of hardware platforms to customers.”   

Cumulus Networks cultivates a disaggregated approach to networking akin to the transformation of server infrastructure that gave customers choice, better tools and TCO improvements. Disaggregating switch hardware with Cumulus Linux provides customers with greater choice, enables use of standard automation tools, and scales affordably. Open networking based on this OS leverages the rapid technology improvement cycles of merchant silicon, an expanding set of bare metal switching hardware providers, the growing ecosystem of commercial and open source Linux tools and applications, and diverse routes to market globally to fit customers’ purchasing behaviors.

Supporting Quotes 

“APD solves a difficult problem in the industry by providing a way for Agema, one of the leading white box hardware providers, to quickly integrate our platform with network operating systems. With accelerated integration, we can deliver a broadened variety of solutions to the market at a faster pace than ever before to meet end customers’ needs for Agema hardware today.”

- Jay Huang, President of Agema Systems, Inc.

“Open networking is becoming a mainstream solution for a broad range of data centers and deployment sizes. The ACPI Platform Description framework will further accelerate the availability of bare-metal switches supporting a choice of network operating systems for different use cases.  EdgeCore Networks is pleased to be working closely with Cumulus Networks on the first pilot for APD on one of our 40G data center switches, and we plan to embrace APD on all of our future platforms.”

- George Tchaparian, CEO of EdgeCore Networks and GM, Data Center Networks, Accton Technology

“Our customers are seeking more economical approaches to cloud networking, with savings on CapEx and on management and OpEx. The proliferation of open networking hardware platforms – accelerated by faster integration of switching hardware and network OS – allows more customers to adopt open networking this year and beyond.”

- Tom Coull, President and CEO, Penguin Computing

“IT organizations of many sizes want to leverage the powerful technology used in leading-edge cloud data centers. For bare metal switches like the QuantaMesh line, APD delivers the performance and economics that the most sophisticated cloud operators enjoy. We expect cloud deployments to accelerate even more as APD broadens the range of open networking solutions available to the market.”

- Mike Yang, General Manager of QCT (Quanta Cloud Technology)

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About Cumulus Networks

Unleash the power of open networking with Cumulus Networks. Founded by veteran networking engineers from Cisco and VMware, Cumulus Networks makes the first Linux operating system for networking hardware and fills a critical gap in realizing the true promise of the software-defined data center. Just as Linux completely transformed the economics and innovation on the server side of the data center, Cumulus Linux is doing the same for the network. It is radically reducing the costs and complexities of operating modern data center networks for service providers and businesses of all sizes. Cumulus Networks has received venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Peter Wagner and four of the original VMware founders.

For more information visit or follow @cumulusnetworks.

Media Contact:

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