Cumulus Linux Emerges After Three Years Of Development

Cumulus Networks has now launched after operating in stealth mode for about three years and revealed Cumulus Linux for datacenter networking. In fact, the company calls it “the first true, full-featured Linux operating system for datacenter networking”.

The company was founded by networking engineer vets from Cisco and VMware back in 2010. It’s led by CEO JR Rivers and CTO Nolan Leake. It’s raised over $15 million in venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Peter Wagner and four of the original VMware founders.

“Andreessen Horowitz is betting heavily on the transformation of the data center from something that was traditionally hardware-centric to a new world where the intelligence lives in software. Nicira was an investment that addressed a key part of this, and now Cumulus Networks is filling another critical piece on the networking side,” said Peter Levine, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “The recent announcement from Facebook’s Open Compute Project underscored this need for a Linux OS for networking. Clearly, the need is massive. And the opportunities for enterprises and service providers to drive massive new efficiencies in the data center is massive as well.”

“Linux revolutionized the compute-side of the data center over the past 15 years. Having a common OS broke vendor lock-in, drove down server hardware cost, allowed scale-out architectures, and provided a common platform for innovations like virtualization. Meanwhile, networking remained stagnant,” said Rivers. “Innovation is finally coming to the network, and we are bringing that same transformational impact that Linux has had on data center economics and innovation to the networking side of the house.”

The Linux distribution is already being used by several service providers and enterprises, including DreamHost and Fastly.

“DreamHost’s large-scale, high-capacity cloud network is greatly enhanced by the use of Cumulus technology, giving us hardware platform flexibility, significantly improved automation and management, and fantastic performance,” said Jonathan LaCour, VP Product, and Development at DreamHost. “Cumulus Linux represents a fundamental shift in how service providers build out cloud-scale networks.”

Cumulus Linux is commercially available through an annual subscription-pricing model. This includes support and maintenance and scales based on switch performance capacity.