Cumulus Linux: Hello, Goodbye


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Cumulus LogoIn 2013 when Cumulus Networks came out of stealth mode, the network operating system (NOS) vendor came to market positioned to be a disruptor with open networking in the data center. Cumulus initiated the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE Project), which the Open Compute Project turned into an initiative to define an open source install environment for bare metal network switches. A network switch with an ONIE install environment gives customers the choice of network operating system, disaggregating the networking hardware from the operating system. The Cumulus Linux operating system could be installed on all ONIE compliant switches.

Shocked PikachuFast forward to 2020: NVIDIA announced its intention to acquire Cumulus, to be absorbed into the hardware maker’s networking business unit along with Mellanox. NVIDIA still offers Cumulus Linux.

Last year when Broadcom announced Cumulus Linux 4.2 would be the last release to support Broadcom ASICs after the NVIDIA/Mellanox acquisition, it may have come as a surprise to the installed Cumulus user base. Indeed, even today when this topic comes up on social medias such as Reddit, it’s usually followed by someone’s surprised response, due to few ‘official’ announcements by the vendors involved, and the lack of significant coverage by the technology media.

PicaSnooI won’t devote this blog post into picking apart the vendor dynamics involved. The gentlemen at industry stalwart Packet Pushers do an excellent job of this in a previous episode of their podcast Heavy Networking (Episode 542 from October 2020).

Instead this blog post is targeted to inform users and resellers of Cumulus Linux that there is a direct path to support and maintenance for their network requirements. Here at Pica8, we recently announced a new channel partnership program for value added resellers (VARs) of Cumulus, Dell and Edgecore: the Break Free Partner Program for open networking. We also offer our Blue Skies Cumulus Linux Replacement Program and participate in our partner STORDIS’ #Back2Open program, both in which we have successfully transitioned customers to Pica8 so that they can stay on their Broadcom systems.

Cumulus Linux VARs with customers using Broadcom-based hardware can offer them an alternative to abandonware. Their data center customers with Layer 2/3, EVPN/VXLAN virtualization, Network Access Control (NAC) and Ansible automation and playbooks now have a direct replacement with Pica8.

Yo QuieroAdditionally, Pica8 is the only open networking software solution to support Dell’s line of access, aggregation and core hardware including the new N2200 and N3200 families of campus switches. Dell VARs can resell Pica8’s AmpCon/PicOS software for a complete switch automation solution across enterprise campus, data centers and distributed site networks, with the same software, including EVPN/VXLAN virtualization and zero trust networking with network access control (NAC).

Edgecore VARs can resell Pica8’s AmpCon/PicOS software switch automation solution across the industry’s broadest choice of Edgecore multi-gig, PoE and 1G to 100G hardware for enterprise campus, data centers and distributed site networks.

As the original vendor of disaggregated network operating systems, Pica8 pioneered open networking methodologies that are still relevant today.

Contact us to learn more; we’ll be pleased to hear from you.


Kelly LeBlanc is Chief Marketing Officer for Pica8