Phew! Cumulus Linux 3.0 has just been released! A big shout out to all of my engineering colleagues who worked so hard to make this happen. JR Rivers gave an overview of all the goodies included in 3.0 in his recent blog post. Stay tuned for more blog posts from other engineers for details on all of those new features.

But Cumulus Linux isn’t the only beneficiary of all the 3.0 work. Cumulus VX, our free virtual machine-based version of Cumulus Linux, also has some pretty cool new tricks. When we launched Cumulus VX last August we thought it would be a way for people to get hands on with a Linux-based switch operating system, in their own environment and without any commitment. Boy, Were we surprised at how it quickly became so much more. With over 3,800 unique users, Cumulus VX is being deployed in all sorts of ways we never dreamed of. As just one example, existing customers are using it to validate their configurations before upgrading their physical switches from one release to another.

What’s New?

is-it-real-or-is-it-cumulus-vx

And that brings me to the first change we’ve made: concurrent releases. Our plan from now on is that we will release the newest version of both Cumulus Linux and Cumulus VX at the same time. So if you are one of those customers who uses Cumulus VX to validate new Cumulus Linux releases, you can start testing all the latest and greatest features of Cumulus Linux 3.0 in Cumulus VX 3.0 right now and, when you’re finished, immediately deploy your new configurations in production!

Another thing we added to Cumulus VX is ONIE. ONIE is present on all of the physical switches, so why not on the virtual ones as well? This means you can reboot the virtual machine into ONIE and re-install Cumulus VX. Just like a real switch! The Cumulus VX ONIE install image is near the bottom of the Cumulus VX download page.

And speaking of “real”, Cumulus VX is now a real platform. So the commands that access platform-specific attributes now just work. That includes commands like decode-syseeprom, sensors, smonctl, dmidecode, and so on. They can all be used, just like on a real switch, eliminating the need to “special case” the virtual environment versus the real environment.

One of the first things that customers do after installing Cumulus Linux on a real switch is to install the license. And this now works on Cumulus VX too. Although you don’t need to have a license installed to use Cumulus VX, you can now install one just like on a real switch using the cl-license command. But that’s not all! Once the license is installed, you can start switchd. In this case switchd doesn’t really do much because there is no switching silicon. But you can start, stop, and get the status of switchd using the systemctl command. Again, just like a real switch.

Ready to Get Real?

There are many other enhancements beyond what I’ve already mentioned. Like cl-acltool functionality, apt-get update/upgrade to new versions, interface spoofing and renaming. But instead of me going on and on, why not give Cumulus VX a try for yourself? Go to the Cumulus VX download page and get the bits for whatever virtual environment you prefer: VMware, Virtual Box, KVM, or Vagrant. There’s great documentation and demos available to get you started, and helpful people in the Cumulus Networks Community can answer any questions you may have. Then, once you’re ready to “get real” and move to Cumulus Linux, let us know.

We’d love to hear from you!