NVIDIA rides the cloud with Cumulus

When Ethernet meets hyperscale networking

Mellanox, the networking arm of NVIDIA has announced it plans to acquire Cumulus Networks for its networking software capabilities.

US-based Cumulus supports about 100 hardware platforms with Cumulus Linux, its operating system for network switches.

Currently ultrafast NVIDIA Mellanox Spectrum switches ship with Cumulus Linux and SONiC, the open source offering forged in Microsoft’s Azure cloud and managed by the Open Compute Project, said Amit Katz vice president ethernet switches at Mellanox.

In a blog on the acquisition, Katz said cloud datacentres are evolving to an architecture that is accelerated, disaggregated and software-defined to meet the exponential growth in AI and high performance computing.

“To build these modern datacentres, HPC and networking hardware and software must go hand in hand,” he wrote. “With Cumulus, NVIDIA can innovate and optimise across the entire networking stack from chips and systems to software including analytics like Cumulus NetQ.”

The ONIE environment Cumulus created is a software foundation for Mellanox’s bare-metal switches.

“Together, we built DENT, a distributed Linux software framework for retail and other enterprises at the edge of the network. And our Onyx operating system continues to expand, especially in Ethernet Storage Fabrics (ESF),” Katz wrote.

According to Katz the relationship between Mellanox and Cumulus began in 2013, when Mellanox formed its Open Ethernet strategy.

At the OCP Summit in March 2016, Mellanox announced a partnership with Cumulus and started shipping combined offerings.


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