Is open networking mainstream?

If the HP announcement of new data center networking solutions with Cumulus Linux is any indication, then we will venture to answer.


On Feb. 19, HP announced a partnership with Cumulus Networks for new HP open network switches with Cumulus Linux, the operating system for open networking. HP has designed an efficient supply chain model including a joint venture with Accton, delivery worldwide via HP logistics centers, and HP local sales and support.

Open networking was born when web-scale providers developed proprietary cloud networking that reduced CapEx costs while improving OpEx and enabling automation.  Similarly, hosting companies, service providers and high-tech firms re-architected their data centers realizing similar benefits.  Next, financials, government, and education entities found affordable capacity and new innovation opportunities with their cloud journey.  Today, a broad range of enterprises are adopting open networking for a wide set of use cases – and for automation and rapid service delivery using Linux tools already standardized for servers.

In that context, the new HP open network switch offerings with Cumulus Linux address a range of use cases but the sweet spot is hyper-scale data center operators. Of course HP also offers the servers, storage and tools for complete solutions that include the new networking brite boxes.

#2 and growing

According to Dell’Oro(1), the port market share represented by the companies that have embraced open networking and bare metal switches now represents #2 in the rankings.  The economics and operational model for all those customers is very different from those who buy from the #1 vendor, whose name doesn’t fit well in any discussion about ending vendor lock-in.

Cumulus Networks customers are included in that – with technology powering over one million ports worldwide.

A growing set of ecosystem solutions support open networking with Cumulus Linux including VMware vSphere, OpenStack and big data with Hadoop, enhanced by automation tools from Puppet, Ansible and others.  Solutions also include hyperconvergence with Nutanix, overlay networks with VMware NSX, Midokura and Nuage. Cumulus Linux customers are expanding their deployments and more companies join the journey every week.

The HP announcement is important in its own right, but in the context of all this industry momentum, their new open network switch offerings signal to the market that open networking is quickly broadening as a technology trend. The economics can’t be ignored – and operating efficiencies equate to real competitive differentiation.

Check out more details about the HP announcement in the JR Rivers blog on the HP website or at  You can find the HP press release here.  And if you’re ready to check out Cumulus Linux yourself, click here to request access to our remote access lab.

Welcome to the open networking mainstream!