Our passion at Cumulus is all around networking with S.O.U.L. Simple. Open. Untethered. Linux. These tenants come together to help organizations build a web-scale, modern, automated network that is necessary for the digital age. So it’s no surprise that Cumulus NetQ and networking with S.O.U.L go hand-in-hand. Let’s take a closer look at how Cumulus NetQ builds on these tenants of S.O.U.L.


NetQ is all about simplifying network operations. The deep visibility achieved through Cumulus NetQ is extremely powerful from a network validation, management and troubleshooting standpoint.

  • Simplifying rollout validation: Cumulus NetQ helps reassure networking teams that what they are rolling into production will actually work. Its validation system lets users check their configuration during production rollout. And with NetQ’s powerful tracing capability, you can validate that you have the true end-to-end connectivity you expected. Tracing saves a huge amount of time as you work to ensure that the path of the packet is working as expected. Without Tracing, you have to go box-by-box and validate all the way up and down the stack. Instead, with NetQ, you can see the pathways the packets flow. This network validation works down to Layer 1, as well as the network topology, various protocols and various host environments.
  • Simplifying management: Web-scale organizations place high importance on rolling out innovative solutions regularly to their end-users. This is accomplished through automation processes. Yet when moving at web-scale speeds, you need to ensure changes don’t impact operations. In today’s world, you have to manage the risk rather than avoid change. Cumulus NetQ helps de-risk automation when moving at web-scale speed. With NetQ, you get real-time network status updates that keep up with an agile, modern data center, where networking and routing bleeds together with the onset of containers and virtual machines. You can operate with greater insight into the entire fabric to ensure things are working as intended. You get complete server-to-switch insight from wherever you are. Instead of writing complex scripts to see if BGP deployed correctly after making small changes, you can do that with NetQ in a single command. And NetQ can alert on deviations based upon your thresholds, so you can see signs of troubles coming.
  • Simplifying Troubleshooting: And all that leads to simplified troubleshooting. In any network, failures happen. When they do, teams usually ask: 1) Where is it coming from? 2) How widespread it is, or what is its blast radius? and 3) When and what was the last known good state? With any other vendor, it would take a box-by-box approach to figure out the issue. You might have to go through 20 to 50 switches to find it. The more time you go through trying to figure out the problem, the more dollars are lost. Enter Cumulus NetQ. As an agent-based technology, NetQ ensures every event (i.e. new device, routes, IP addresses, BGP flaps, etc.) gets time-stamped so you can go back in time and know the state 10 minutes ago. That means organizations can roll-back to see the state of the network at any specific point in time. This enhanced, deeper troubleshooting happens because of the Linux ecosystem NetQ works with. More on that shortly.


NetQ, like Cumulus Linux, is based on open source Debian Linux. NetQ works seamlessly with automation tools like Ansible and other Linux tools since NetQ is based in Debian Linux. NetQ offers flexibility to upgrade specific Debian Linux packages in addition to binary images.

NetQ also has deep insights into the Linux Kernel networking events because NetQ interfaces with Netlink directly into the Linux Kernel. The NetQ agent listens to all Netlink messages (Link, Routes, Address, Neighbor) and updates the NetQ Telemetry Server in real-time.


At Cumulus, our whole focus is to provide choice to organizations. Cumulus Linux, our network operating system for bare metal switches, is supported on over 70 hardware platforms, including Dell, HP, Edgecore, Mellanox, Delta, Facebook, QCT, Supermicro and Penguin. That means NetQ can work across all those switch devices that run Cumulus Linux. Additionally, NetQ’s agent can run across all the major Linux-based hosts, including REHL, CentOS and Ubuntu.


The power of the network is Linux. Cumulus NetQ was written to listen to and understand Linux across the Linux ecosystem. This means you have complete host-to-switch insight into how the fabric is running, and visibility into where errors may have occurred. You can go back in time and understand what happened across both compute and network.

NetQ gives you a very quick way to find out what the problem is, help pinpoint the actual problem and find the last good network state. We call this “actionable insight.” Your network doesn’t stop at your ToR Switch — it actually starts at the host level, meaning your troubleshooting boundary doesn’t stop at the switch. That’s why NetQ runs an agent on the Linux host and on the switch. Having the agents across the Linux fabric provides a much broader, more comprehensive view.

It also integrates with container orchestration engines of Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. Since containers run on Linux, Cumulus NetQ provides fabric wide connectivity and visibility from the network to the container. It gives you container service insight and provides the tools engineers need to design, update, manage and troubleshoot the container network. NetQ is the only telemetry agent that directly integrates with container orchestration systems, including Docker Swarm and market-leading Kubernetes. With this deep insight, you can now monitor containers as they change and map their ports.

NetQ gives you all this insight right from your laptop! When you run a NetQ check command from your laptop or your switch, you can query the entire fabric from wherever you are. Plus, NetQ integrates with tools like Slack and PagerDuty. If you get a 2:00 AM pager call, you receive all the communication of the switch in the Slack channel to help ID the problem. The key is that you can get notified and then troubleshoot anytime, anywhere.

In this digital age, where networks must empower the modern data center, be agile and leverage automation, NetQ builds out the foundations of networking with S.O.U.L to provide actionable insight into every event in the network, from the host to the switch.

Go ahead, give Cumulus NetQ a try today!