On Monday we released our latest version of Cumulus Linux, 3.5. It includes symmetric VxLAN routing, Voice VLAN and 10 new hardware platforms. This includes General Availability (GA) of our two supported chassis, the four slot Backpack and eight slot OMP800. We announced Early Access (EA) support for both chassis in our previous release, Cumulus Linux 3.4.

At Cumulus, moving fast to fix problems and get features in the hands of our customers is core to our culture. In today’s webscale networks, it’s hard for even the largest of organizations to operate on classic 18+ month buying cycles. Some folks want the ability to use new technology as soon as possible.

The EA process gives customers the ability to use working software or hardware and provide direct feedback on the final product. That feedback improves all aspects of the product, from purchasing, delivery, default configurations or operations.

When we announced EA for our chassis systems, we had many Fortune 500 customers express interest. For some, the EA process allowed them to start the purchasing process knowing that it would take months until a final purchase order was ready. For others, they were able to put working, stable chassis in their lab and build operational processes around these new devices, reducing their time to production by months.

Along the way we worked with these customers, through both their local account teams and traditional support, to identify areas of improvement. For example, we changed the default hostnames within the chassis to simplify initial provisioning, based on direct feedback from a Fortune 100.

Within Cumulus, after shipping the first few chassis to customers we identified inefficiencies in our supply chain that we improved, reducing lead times by over 30%!

The EA process may not be right for all customers. We know this. But for some, that jumpstart EA can give to customers is invaluable.

Want to know more about the success and benefits that customers have had with Cumulus Networks? Read our customer ebook for an interactive walkthrough about how customers leveraged Cumulus Linux to their advantage.