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Cumulus Networks Extends Server Standard to Networking for Radically Faster Integration of Switches With Network OS

Cumulus Networks, provider of the Cumulus Linux operating system for open networking, today announced a new industry standard for networking hardware and operating system (OS) integration. Cumulus Networks has extended ACPI, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface that is the standard for OS integration with servers, laptops and desktop computers, to now support network OS integration with bare metal switches. The new expansion to this specification, called ACPI Platform Description, or APD, allows hardware providers to rapidly and more easily integrate network OSes, accelerating the proliferation of bare metal switches and providing customers choice of a broadened range of designs. The company also announced the Open Hardware program to accelerate the partner onboarding process and go-to-market collaboration.

“Great networking no longer requires a vendor-locked stack,” said Reza Malekzadeh, VP of Business, Cumulus Networks. “With APD for bare metal switches, networking is catching up with the server business. Now it’s all about cloud economics, speed of service delivery and a robust solutions ecosystem. This is a pivotal moment for the industry as open networking enters the mainstream. We’re pleased to announce Cumulus Linux support for APD along with our hardware partners.”

Cumulus Networks contributed the Open Networking Install Environment, ONIE, to the Open Compute Project (OCP) to simplify OS loading. The company will now further the OCP goal of rapid innovation by contributing APD to the Project to simplify OS integration. Hardware vendors use APD to describe each platform to the network OS in a standard, machine-readable language. APD documentation and generic drivers will be contributed to the Linux kernel also, to give all network OS vendors the opportunity to speed time to market with hardware platforms.

“Openness promotes progress. Open information and open tools allow the best minds from all over the world to innovate and make technology better, driving down costs and driving up efficiency and effectiveness. In contrast, in a closed loop system, it’s hard to figure out how to control costs or innovation,” said Corey Bell, CEO, Open Compute Foundation. “With the APD contribution to OCP, Cumulus Networks is enabling this kind of community innovation which in turn will allow more organizations to leverage open hardware.”

“As an innovation center, Orange Silicon Valley is welcoming the APD contribution by Cumulus Networks,” said Jeremy Huylebroeck, Principal Cloud Architect at Orange Silicon Valley. “The ACPI standardization has been positive to the whole industry. APD will facilitate the integration of new players in a complex space that is seeing a fair amount of disruption lately. The vision is to manage network gear similarly to servers, in a fully automated and commodity fashion. Cumulus Networks, ONIE, APD and the Open Compute Project definitely help us to demonstrate that capability in our labs.”

Cumulus Networks also announced today the Open Hardware (OH) program as part of their Technology Ecosystem Partner (TEP) framework. This program supports hardware vendors as they become official partners, defines the joint development framework, and outlines go to market collaboration. The TEP-OH program initially includes Agema Systems, DELL, Edge-Core Networks, HP, Penguin Computing and Quanta. So far there are 21 bare metal switching platforms on the Cumulus Linux hardware compatibility list, and with its support for APD, the company expects its hardware compatibility list to expand significantly.

“The extension of the ACPI specification to networking allows hardware vendors to control their own time to market with bare metal switch offerings,” said Eli Karpilovski, Director of Product Marketing at Broadcom. “APD will enable shorter cycle time between the release of new switching technologies and the availability of hardware platforms to customers.”

Cumulus Networks cultivates a disaggregated approach to networking akin to the transformation of server infrastructure that gave customers choice, better tools and TCO improvements. Disaggregating switch hardware with Cumulus Linux provides customers with greater choice, enables use of standard automation tools, and scales affordably. Open networking based on this OS leverages the rapid technology improvement cycles of merchant silicon, an expanding set of bare metal switching hardware providers, the growing ecosystem of commercial and open source Linux tools and applications, and diverse routes to market globally to fit customers’ purchasing behaviors.

Published Tuesday, March 10, 2015 12:12 PM by David Marshall
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