Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cumulus, Dell, Red Hat Collaborate on OpenStack

Cumulus Networks is working with Dell and Red Hat to simplify large-scale OpenStack deployments without the need for proprietary software-defined networking (SDN) fabric solutions. The goal is an all-Linux OpenStack pod that is easy to install and maintain, and incorporates the latest networking technologies.


The companies cited a joint project underway since February 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. Some project highlights, “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

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. 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. 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.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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