VTEP is not the only way MidoNet customers can use a switch that runs Cumulus Linux as the underlay (physical network) for the virtual, overlay networks.

We’ve announced our partnership to work with Cumulus Networks earlier in 2014 to use Cumulus Linux as a Layer-2 VxLAN Gateway to bridge VLANs in the virtual network world to the VLANs in the physical world.

We’ve shipped that code as part of MidoNet version 1.6.

We now want to talk about how VTEP is not the only way MidoNet customers can use a switch that runs Cumulus Linux as the underlay (physical network) for the virtual, overlay networks.    Just don’t think of running a set of gateway switches as the only way to benefit from these devices, we see many opportunities and benefits.

Here are some examples why it makes sense :

Automation

Remember that Cumulus Linux IS Linux. It’s not a switch OS that just happens to be based on Linux.  It offers cloud automation capabilities that is so crucial to customers who are adopting to move towards building a Cloud. If you listen to Customers, Systems like Chef and Puppet are widely used in the deployment of systems like OpenStack, and they are a natural fit for Cumulus Linux.  Thus your system admins or devops staff can learn and use one tool they are familiar with to manage both the cloud system and their networking. As you start planning how you want to move your loads across different data centers, you want to have minimal manual intervention to re-configure or bring new switches to existence, Cumulus Linux has a really cool way to do zero touch provisioning of the switches in a uniform manner. They even created this enhanced PXE bootloader capability for having switches behave like servers and open sourced it to Open Compute Project (It’s called ONIE)…. A change that’s going to drive the maturity of a lot of these bare metal switch vendors to be widely adopted helping customers to think of applying the awesome benefits they hear of large web-scale guys. Nice move for the Bare Metal Industry.

Disaggregation

Switches running Cumulus Linux are industry standard switches that have ONIE enabled on them(they have real wires plugged into them), but virtual networks based on MidoNet are virtual networks, and the devices are virtual (in software-land).  So they don’t seem to be connected, except by gateways, right?  So in other ways, where’s the affinity between these two solutions.

Let’s not forget the whole notion of disaggregation. This means that you de-couple the hardware from the software so it allows customers and community to innovate faster.   Cumulus Linux provides all the networking functionality as an OS for the underlying physical fabric, act as a Top of Rack switch or commonly have a leaf-spine design . MidoNet excels as a network virtualization overlay and can be the overarching control point, orchestration providing customers a view into the virtual world of all components.

So philosophically, these two systems are aligned.  Anyhow, people who run Cumulus Linux are inclined to like splitting up these lock-in boxes, and they are naturally inclined to split up networks into different pieces, managed and maintained separately.

VTEP-Integration - MidoNet Cumulus Linux

VTEP-Integration – MidoNet – Cumulus Linux

Scaling

You want to run a large system, like a cloud?  The only way to make it work is to have a system that naturally has the right architectural foundations, automation capabilities, and is designed for on-demand scale to meet the fast pace of business growth.   There’s a natural affinity here as well.  Cumulus Linux has a sweet spot for building out large scale L3 CLOS architectures helping design high capacity IP fabrics using ECMP.  What about MidoNet? It has, at its core, a distributed architecture designed for scale, and is naturally suited for cloud deployments on OpenStack.  Of course, cloud deployments means scale, so these two products are naturally complementary.

Linux

This is simple.  Cumulus Linux is Linux, and MidoNet runs on Linux-based OpenStack systems like Red Hat, Ubuntu.   Same command line, same skill set, same level of comfort.  Need we say more?

We anticipate every customer wanting to move to a cloud environment of some form : private, public or hybrid. Our goal is about helping them make the right decisions for their environment.

Guest blog post contributors:

Meena Sankaran, Solutions and Ecosystem at Cumulus Networks
Dan Conde, Director of Product at Midokura

Dan Conde likes to work in system and infrastructure software and has previously worked at VMware, Rendition Networks, NetIQ and Microsoft. Dan received his Computer Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.