Cumulus Networks Introduces Cumulus Host Pack
August 23, 2017

Cumulus Networks announced the availability of Cumulus Host Pack, a full suite of technologies that brings the host to the network for visibility and connectivity, enabling organizations to deploy and operate production-ready, web-scale networks for containers and microservices.

The Host Pack suite will also be made available for trial through Cumulus in the Cloud, a low effort, zero cost way to explore these technologies before committing to a full deployment.

Many companies have started to consider or deploy containerized applications due to their flexibility, agility and efficiency in comparison to dedicated virtual machines; 451 Research predicts containers will see the fastest growth of all Cloud-Enabling Technologies (CET) to become a $2.7bn market by 2020. However, the flexibility and ease with which containers can be created and destroyed presents significant challenges in scaling and empowering a network for application deployments:

- Dangerous network blind spots: The short-lived, ephemeral nature of containers makes them difficult to identify and track, making consistent, real-time visibility and troubleshooting with traditional network tools virtually impossible. The accessibility of containers also makes it possible to put them on untrusted network segments, leading to dangerous network blind spots.

- Increased network complexity: The fleeting nature of containers and microservices demand a simple yet high-performing network that adapts quickly to the ever-changing schema. Network architectures and deployment methods that were developed for virtualized environments in the last decade aren’t suited for this type of environment, and they impede enterprise adoption of production deployments at scale.

- Significant performance delays: Using containers at scale with tools traditionally used only by DevOps teams creates roadblocks and performance delays for network operators.

“As companies look at containers as a way of deploying revenue-generating applications in faster, more agile ways, the supporting networking infrastructure needs to adapt and change,” said Josh Leslie, CEO, Cumulus Networks. “Until now, network architects have been missing a solution that gives customers a scalable end-to-end network architecture and pervasive view of how containers impact the network. Cumulus Host Pack allows customers to deliver on the promise of containers and microservices by removing operational barriers and enabling them to design a network of web-scale efficiency that is reliable and simple to deploy.”

Cumulus Host Pack enables a path to web-scale networking that supports containers and microservices by utilizing a common toolset of the Linux ecosystem. Because Cumulus Linux brings the host to the network, Host Pack gives application developers and network operators universal visibility and connectivity of the network that is unrivalled by any other existing solution.

Key capabilities and benefits of Host Pack include:

- Granular container visibility for faster debugging: Host Pack gives operational and development teams shared visibility of application availability through popular container orchestration tools such as Mesosphere, Kubernetes, and Docker Swarm. Enabled by NetQ running on the host, network operators can easily view the health of container services, keep track of container locations, track IP addresses and open ports, and have deep insights into where an issue resides, allowing for faster troubleshooting.

- Simplified network connectivity for improved performance: With the FRRouting software suite and the use of routing protocols such as BGP unnumbered directly on the host and in a Layer 3 architecture, Cumulus' network fabric is able to dynamically learn about containers and distribute these addresses throughout the network to ensure predictable performance between containers across host environments. This removes the complications of a Layer 2 overhead, provides rich and reliable multipathing, simplifies IP address management, and increases reliability. The Host Pack daemon is available in the Docker Community Edition hub.

- A common data center operating model, Linux, from network to containers: Cumulus Linux utilizes the same Linux networking model that is foundational to container systems. This enables the use of a common operational toolset, ensures interoperability, and reduces complexity across the entire data center.

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