‘Tis the season for spreading holiday cheer! As mentioned a few weeks ago, we at Cumulus feel so thankful for all the great success in 2017. Our focus and stated goal has been to disrupt and transform the future of networking. We are pioneering a new generation of hyper-scale, automated and open networks designed to drive network agility in an era of digital transformation.

As 2017 comes to a close, we know many of you are excited to celebrate the holidays. We’d like to give you even more to cheer for this season by announcing a few exciting enhancements to Cumulus Linux with our 3.5 release — all designed to help you create an agile, open network that gives you the web-scale benefits of automation, interoperability, cost savings and choice.

In our new release of Cumulus Linux 3.5, we bring you the following open networking benefits:

The industry’s most comprehensive VXLAN routing suite

Most legacy vendors offer either asymmetric routing or symmetric routing. For comparison, Cisco and Arista implement their VXLAN routing solution using symmetric mode. Juniper implements its VXLAN routing solution using asymmetric mode and some symmetric. With these different routing solutions, these vendor switches can’t operate with each other.

Cumulus makes it easy.

In Cumulus Linux 3.4, we announced support for VXLAN Asymmetric Routing. Now, in Cumulus Linux 3.5, we offer VXLAN Symmetric Routing. These VXLAN routing methods are often used in communicating between multiple tenant systems, when those systems are in different data centers connected by tunnels. Everyone has different reasons for choosing these different models. The asymmetrical approach is often easier to implement but might not be as efficient or as scalable as the symmetric approach.

With the symmetric routing model, we are also announcing support for EVPN Type-5 (or the IP prefix) route for a simple alternative to MPLS. This is important for when tenants of a VXLAN-enabled data center need to reach an external network. Type-5 routing provides all necessary forwarding information required for sending VXLAN packets in the data plane to the network virtual endpoint.

While other vendors mainly only offer one or the other VXLAN modes, Cumulus focuses on choice. We offer full interoperability with all major networking vendor gear by supporting both symmetric and asymmetric routing methods.

Double the open networking power with the industry’s 1st 100G open chassis

Traditional chassis use unknown ASICs within the system, undocumented counters and paths preventing administrators from troubleshooting, and proprietary fabric protocols between line cards and fabric cards. In contrast, Cumulus Express chassis are entirely open, with one industry-standard ASIC across all line cards and fabric cards. The communication channel between the cards is pure Ethernet, meaning you need just one troubleshooting method across the entire fabric, including outside of the chassis. Additionally, when combined with the Cumulus Express power over ethernet (PoE) switch from Edgecore, the automated campus becomes a reality. In essence, the chassis provides all the cost benefits of open networking in an easy-to-consume package.

In Cumulus Linux 3.5, we launch the Cumulus Express CX-10256 chassis! This new Edgecore OMP800 chassis installed with Cumulus Linux provides a scalable option for open networking architectures. In addition to our support of the 128-port Facebook Backpack chassis, which was specifically designed for Leaf/Spine L3 model, the CX-10256 offers twice as many ports as the Backpack. As an innovative “Clos in a box,” it reimagines the traditional chassis by simplifying a three-tier (or 5 way) spine and leaf network into internal interconnects, and does it without all the cabling complexities and by saving upwards of 30% of the power. With its full line-rate switching at Layer 2 and Layer 3 across 256-ports of 100GbE it is the highest bandwidth open network platforms in the industry

VRF now works with OSPF

Cumulus Linux provides virtual routing and forwarding (VRF) to allow for the presence of multiple, independent routing tables working simultaneously on the same router or switch. This permits multiple network paths without the need for multiple switches. While a good number of our customers use the BGP routing protocol when setting up VRF functionality in Cumulus Linux, in Cumulus 3.5 we’ve extended VRF support for OSPF. Again, offering more choice depending on which protocol you’ve standardized on.

Secure campus offering

A common request for campus networks is to have dynamic VLAN assignment in combination with dot1x. The 802.1x protocol is used for network access control, to authenticate users into the network and assign them into a VLAN based on either a successful or unsuccessful authentication. After authentication, a client will be put into an assigned VLAN based on the dot1x auth for security purposes. This release now enables easier, adaptive VLAN assignments with the 802.1x protocol when controlling access to the network.

70+ hardware platforms supported

Everyone knows that Cumulus Linux is the world’s most flexible, open network operating system for bare metal switches. And now the number of these bare metal switches that can be operated with Cumulus Linux has jumped up 17% in this release alone, going from over 60 open switches supported to now over 70. This includes new boxes from Dell, Celestica, Mellanox and Edgecore.

So, if you are the type of sysadmin or network engineer who likes to have a plethora of choice as you relax this holiday season (maybe with eggnog or hot chocolate or Wassail, while you watch Elf or Christmas Story or some Hallmark classic, or sing your favorite holiday tune of “Jingle Bells” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “Auld Lang Syne”… you get the idea) then take a look at the choice Cumulus offers to drive efficiency, flexibility and choice in your network.

We like choice so much, we even offer you a choice of how try our open networking software!

Choice #1 – Cumulus in the Cloud – a free virtual data center so you can test drive Cumulus products for free, with three popular solutions — container networking with Mesos, virtualization using OpenStack or with a completely blank slate so you can build your own network.
Choice #2 – Cumulus VX – a free virtual appliance that enables you to preview and test Cumulus open networking technology at zero cost.
Choice #3 – Hands-on online or in-person training – Check out our calendar of classes of how to get personal training from our professional open networking experts

Do yourself a favor, and take one of these actions above and bring choice to your network. Cumulus Linux 3.5 is just the tip of the iceberg for open, web-scaling networking. Watch out 2018!