Cumulus Networks Unveils 'Cisco Killer'

Paul Venezia | InfoWorld | June 19, 2013

Startup's Debian-based Linux distribution for commodity switching hardware aims to upend networking's status quo

After three years under the radar, secretive Cumulus Networks has finally emerged from stealth mode. Founded by ex-Cisco and ex-EMC VMware engineers looking to shake up switched networking by leveraging Linux and commodity network hardware, the small Silicon Valley startup turns out to be a software company. Cumulus will sell only software -- namely, Cumulus Linux -- and support. The hardware can come from any vendor you like, and Cumulus has a list of compatible switches to choose from.

These aren't expensive, proprietary switches like those you'd buy from Cisco, but switches based on merchant silicon from original design manufacturers (ODMs) such as Quanta and Accton. However, you might find that these switches bear a striking resemblance to switches from major market vendors. This is because ODMs manufacture those switches that are then rebranded and loaded with software.