I had the honor of accepting two awards yesterday on behalf of the Cumulus Networks team. We’re pleased because the honors were awarded based on a broad poll of real people in real IT shops, including some of the world’s biggest enterprises and service providers. You can’t buy these; we didn’t even know that the poll was being taken. Those voters, who we think of as our IT brethren, chose us for “Bare Metal Switch OS Market Leader,” for one of only two “Special Achievement” awards (together with our partner, VMware), and three other accolades.

Bare Metal Switch winners: Cumulus Networks and Dell

With Subi Krishnamurthy, Dell Networking


Bare Metal Switch OS #1

Bare Metal Switch OS awards: #1 for market leader, innovation leader and price leader, and tied for #1 performance leader.

“Well, how did I get here?”

When we founded Cumulus Networks, we were driven by a vision of how high-capacity interconnect would change modern applications.

We set out to make great networking technology available to the masses, addressing three critical needs: affordability, an efficient operating model, and availability via a variety of channels. These tenets have become the definition of open networking.

To fulfill these goals, we built the company with IT professionals from all disciplines: development, operations, support and logistics. As the company grew, we complemented them with legal and a business team. We made sure we had all the bases covered.

Inventing open networking

Cumulus Networks, July 2012

“Once in a lifetime”

Now the vision is reality. I think it’s fair to say that the jury is still out on where the bare metal switch market will end up; however, it’s also fair to say that with open networking, the IT industry has changed (for the better) for ever.

Open networking hits the mainstream with Mountain View startup

Cumulus Networks, October 2014

“And you may ask yourself…”

Why bother? Aren’t the big, traditional data center networking vendors providing the best networking already?

No. They’re not.

Open networking is a huge disruption in the data center. On the surface it may just look like a bare metal switch approach is a great way to save on CapEx. But beyond that, customers are seeing far greater benefits as use of a real Linux networking OS enables them to automate and manage their network exactly like their servers, using the same Linux tool chains.

Together with our bare metal switch hardware partners, we’re delivering great networking that spans L2, L3, and overlay technologies to some of of the biggest companies in the world… and some of the smallest. Each of these customers gets to participate in the benefits, and we get to take input from the IT folks in all of them to make our products as well as our company better.

The data center is no longer about servers, storage, switching and software. Now it’s about systems to support applications. That’s what really matters. I often refer to this transition as changing the view from the narrow band of networking to the wide angle of system IT.

“Same as it ever was.”

Every day, more customers and suppliers of IT solutions are participating in and driving this transition. As is always the case with a disruptive industry change, some stalwarts are helping to drive the disruption and resulting improvements for customers – including perennials like Dell and HP. Others are photo-bombing to be in the picture without any real commitment. Then there are the rest, who are hunkering down to avoid the change (and their resulting irrelevance).

We’d like to thank our IT peers who voted for these IT Brand Pulse awards. They – and we hope you, too – share the vision of disrupting the status quo of traditional networking with an open ecosystem for system IT.