Cumulus Networks, Dell and Red Hat Collaborate to Simplify OpenStack Deployments

By Rory Lidstone April 15, 2016

Cumulus Networks, a provider of Linux networking operating systems, has entered into a new collaboration with Dell and Red Hat with the goal of simplifying large-scale OpenStack deployments without using proprietary software-defined networking (SDN) fabric solutions. The solution developed through this collaboration offers an all-Linux OpenStack pod that is easy to install and maintain, while incorporating the latest networking technologies.

Traditionally, OpenStack pods are created using different teams, specifically networking engineers and system administrators working in siloed environments with little by way of collaboration. This collaborative project, however, leveraged DevOps methodologies, bridge the gap between teams, and enabled them to speak the same language every step of the way.

This initiative kicked off in February—around the same time Dell unveiled a new open networking OS—when Cumulus, Dell and Red Hat set out to see how the latest in automation and networking could be applied to a production-scale OpenStack pod, while removing maintenance and scalability challenges for end users. Key to accomplishing this was the ability to bridge gaps between networking engineers and system administrators using shared DevOps tools to tear down silos, foster collaboration, and implement infrastructure as code concepts.

The project demonstrated a few key results, namely a scalable 300+ node 100 percent Linux OpenStack pod, installations and provisioning in only six hours using standard open source DevOps tools, and simplified IP networking and controller-less VXLAN-based SDN.

Dell provided a single source for procurement, support and services for on-premises OpenStack pods, while Ansible by Red Hat, Git and Red Hat OpenStack Platform formed the deployment tool chain and virtual environment allowed for prototyping and testing all components. Finally, 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.

“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.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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