It’s an exciting time in networking!

web-IT

Google and Amazon recently gave the IT community a glimpse behind the curtain of web-IT, revealing the outcome of their pioneering efforts. It’s no surprise that they’ve settled on IP fabrics and network virtualization to provide both scale and isolation. Web giants Facebook and Microsoft are both driving open hardware in an effort to eliminate the lock that industry incumbents have on networking solutions.

You know that you’re onto something when industry analysts start counting things – Gartner’s Andrew Lerner recently published his perspective on the networking industry; by 2017, they expect 50% of global enterprises to embrace web-IT architectures.

Last year, we saw the uptake of modern networking paradigms. Practitioners of NetDevOps are driving automation practices into the network domain. IP storage solutions are rampant, benefiting from high capacity IP fabrics. Brite-box hardware suppliers have enabled web-IT with procurement, logistics, and support capability that meets the needs of any organization. Network virtualization solutions from VMware NSX and up-and-comer Nuage are getting the nod in enterprises. The OpenStack community applied a laser-like focus on Neutron which in turn has promoted virtual network solutions from Akanda and Midokura to be deployed at scale. We’re seeing a number of customers leveraging our Linux-centric Lightweight Network Virtualization to meet their unique business needs.

The Linux networking stack is awesome and continues to outpace all comers. Driven by the needs of virtual machine, container, and physical networking, web-IT relevant functions have been added at a dizzying pace. In the past year or so, we’ve seen the addition of a VLAN filtering bridge driver, Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF), Lightweight Tunnels/MPLS, the VXLAN device, the IPVLAN driver, a switch-chip device driver, and a new filtering infrastructure called nftables. It’s as if Linux is gaining superpowers, one at a time.

Cumulus Networks witnessed tremendous growth in 2015. Mid-year, Josh Leslie joined us to lead the sales effort, and the team oversaw our engagement with 200 new customers, bringing our total customer base to 375. Our most satisfying measure of success is when we see what our customers are doing with their applications and infrastructure. This year, we saw a lot of classical use cases like “application on bare-metal” and “application on virtual machine” and experienced the rise of “application in container” deployments. Cumulus VX enabled customers to interact with our technology as they progress from early evaluation through full production. We watched our proofs-of-concept grow in scope from “onesie-twosie tire-kicking” to 8+ switch trial clusters; then we saw those trials progress to a production scale of hundreds of switches within the year. High scale production deployments in 2016 included a Fortune 50 telecom provider and the largest web companies in Russia and Japan. We consistently see the aggressive expansion of web-IT across enterprise private clouds, major telcos, SaaS companies, hosters, and other internet facing businesses. We are engaged with 18% of the Fortune 50 and we enable IT organizations across all industries to be more productive.

These trends in customer engagement across a diverse base led us to optimize our licensing model. It’s easy and natural for customers to obtain a license to Cumulus Linux that aligns with the lifetime of the switching hardware. Perpetual licensing streamlines procurement and optimizes total cost of ownership for production use cases, making Cumulus Linux friendly to the entire organization.

We are spending our time enriching the experience of customers as they embrace Cumulus Linux. Our biggest focus in 2016 is to simplify the adoption of web-IT practices in the five pillars of operations: architecture, deployment, monitoring, troubleshooting, and lifecycle management.  This year is going to be seminal as technology and market maturity of web-IT align and customers are able to build better, faster, and easier IT systems.