Cumulus Networks Collaborates with Dell and Red Hat to Simplify 300+ Node OpenStack Pod

Collaboration demonstrates the power of Linux by deploying Cumulus Linux and Red Hat OpenStack Platform on a 300+ node pod built with Dell servers and switches

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--()--Cumulus Networks, the leading provider of Linux networking operating systems, today announced a collaboration with Dell, the leading provider of open and innovative technologies, and Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, to simplify large-scale OpenStack deployments without the need for any proprietary software-defined networking (SDN) fabric solutions. The resulting solution offers an all-Linux OpenStack pod that is easy to install and maintain, and incorporates the latest networking technologies.

OpenStack pods are typically created using disparate teams — networking engineers and system administrators working in siloed environments with minimal means for collaboration. This project demonstrated the value of DevOps methodologies, bridged the gap between the teams, and enabled them to speak the same language “all the way down.”

In February, Cumulus Networks, Dell, and Red Hat set out to see how advances in automation and networking could be applied to a production-scale OpenStack pod while removing scalability and maintenance challenges for end users. The project demonstrated the ability to bridge gaps between networking engineers and system administrators — using shared DevOps tools effectively tore down silos, fostered collaboration, and implemented infrastructure as code concepts.

The project demonstrated the following results “all the way down” the OpenStack pod:

  • Scalable 300+ node 100% Linux OpenStack pod
  • Installation and provisioning in six hours using standard open source DevOps tools
  • Simplified IP networking and controller-less VXLAN-based SDN

Dell provides a single-source for procurement, support, and services for on-premise OpenStack pods. Using certified Dell hardware for Cumulus Linux and Red Hat OpenStack Platform the pod included more than 300 PowerEdge rack-mount servers installed in nine racks interconnected with 24 Open Networking switches. Dual attached 10Gb Ethernet server connections and 8.6TB cluster bandwidth provided ample capacity for the OpenStack storage and distributed application communications.

“When we launched our Open Networking initiative more than two years ago, our intent was to innovate the network and transform the data center by delivering industry-standard hardware and providing choice of network operating systems and data center applications,” said Tom Burns, Vice President and General Manager, Dell Networking. “This project demonstrated the power of that innovation and how, when combined in a DevOps model, can greatly simplify business challenges for customers.”

Ansible by Red Hat, Git, and Red Hat OpenStack Platform formed the deployment tool chain and a virtual environment allowed for prototyping and testing of all components. DevOps tools and principles enabled the geographically distributed team to hit a six hour deployment window to full operation.

“With the increase in production rollouts of OpenStack, customers want the ability to scale without compromising on performance and manageability,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, General Manager, OpenStack, Red Hat. “In collaboration with Cumulus Networks and Dell we have demonstrated the ability to scale with Red Hat OpenStack Platform and we're looking forward to bringing this powerful solution to our customers. What makes this project even more unique is our focus on delivering a fully open source tool chain, including Ansible, to simplify deployment.”

The pod used an all IP VXLAN networking topology using Cumulus Linux and OpenStack Neutron spanning the leaf/spine switches as well as all OpenStack compute nodes. This plug-and-play fat-free architecture added simplicity, mobility, and agility to the entire OpenStack pod which realized over one thousand tenant networks without the need for exhaustive IPv4 and VLAN bookkeeping, and complex proprietary SDN controllers.

“It’s powerful to witness the software-defined data center at work,” said JR Rivers, co-founder and CTO of Cumulus Networks. “This project tied together automation, virtual testing environments, tight deployment schedules, and ‘Linux all the way down’ to deliver a production-ready OpenStack pod.”

The Cumulus Networks, Dell, and Red Hat collaboration demonstrates the power of open source - including Cumulus Linux, OpenStack, and Ansible. Red Hat OpenStack Platform on Dell PowerEdge servers and Cumulus Linux on Dell Open Networking switches unite to create a highly scalable Linux native Infrastructure as a Service solution.

Further Information:

About Cumulus Networks

Cumulus Networks helps customers realize cost-effective, high capacity networking for modern data centers. Linux transformed the economics and innovation for data center compute, and Cumulus Linux is doing the same for the network. It radically reduces the costs and complexities of operating modern data center networks for businesses of all sizes. Cumulus Networks has received venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Peter Wagner and four of the original VMware founders.

For more information visit or follow @cumulusnetworks.

About Dell Open Networking

Dell believes a modern network must evolve with the organization and must be free of proprietary lock-in. Dell delivers an open-networking environment with software-defined solutions utilizing open-source, standards-based tools and applications. Dense and efficient networking hardware and global support from Dell combined with Dell’s open networking partners’ advanced offerings deliver a broad range of next-generation network and software-defined data center frameworks.


Bite for Cumulus Networks
Molly Stein, +1 415-385-5137

Release Summary

Cumulus Networks, Dell and Red Hat demonstrate the power of Linux and simplify large-scale OpenStack deployments without the need for a proprietary software-defined networking (SDN) fabric


Bite for Cumulus Networks
Molly Stein, +1 415-385-5137