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Cumulus Networks

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Cumulus Networks
Private company
IndustryNetworking software, Cloud Networking
Founded 📆January 2010; 11 years ago (2010-01)
Founder 👔
Headquarters 🏙️,
Mountain View, California
Area served 🗺️
Key people
Josh Leslie, CEO,
JR Rivers, Co-Founder,
Nolan Leake, Co-Founder
Products 🎛️ 🧴Operating System for Switches
Number of employees

Cumulus Networks is a computer software company headquartered in Mountain View, California, USA. The company designs and sells a Linux operating system for industry standard network switches, along with management software and its own data switch, for large datacenter, cloud computing, and enterprise environments.

In May 2020, American semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia announced it was acquiring Cumulus.[1]


Cumulus Networks was founded by JR Rivers and Nolan Leake in 2010. The company raised a first round of seed funding in 2012.[2] Cumulus Networks emerged publicly in June 2013[3] after previously operating in stealth mode.[4][5][6] The company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Peter Wagner and 4 of the 5 original VMware founders.[citation needed]

In 2014 Dell began offering the option of the Cumulus Linux network OS on Dell's switches.[7]

In 2015, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) began offering the option of Cumulus Linux on HPE's switches.[8]

In 2016, Mellanox began offering Cumulus Linux on their Spectrum switches.[9]

In 2018, Lenovo began offering Cumulus Linux on their ThinkSystem Rackswitch line of switches.[10]

On June 20, 2019, the company announced the departure of co-founder JR Rivers, who had been the original CEO and, since March 2016, the CTO.[11] According to the company's website, neither Rivers nor Leake remain on the Board of Directors.

In January 2020, Hewlett Packard announced a partnership with Cumulus to include Cumulus' Linux NetQ software on HPE's network storage products.[12] On May 4, Nvidia Corporation announced plans to acquire Cumulus Networks for an undisclosed amount.[1]


Cumulus Linux[edit]

Cumulus Linux is an open Linux based networking operating system for bare metal switches. It is based on the Debian Linux distribution.[13]

In a 2017 Gartner report Cumulus Networks was highlighted as a pioneer of open source networking for developing an open source networking operating system in a market where hardware vendors usually delivered proprietary operating systems pre-installed. According to Gartner, Cumulus Networks had worked around the lack of vendor support for open source networking by deploying bare metal switches with the Cumulus Linux operating system in large corporate networks. 32 percent of the Fortune 50 companies used the Cumulus Linux operating system in their data centers in 2017.[14]


NetQ is network state validation software, used during regular operations and for post-mortem diagnostic analysis.[15]

Host Pack[edit]

Host Pack includes software that brings the host to the network through NetQ and FRRouting. Host Pack improves network visibility through NetQ’s end-to-end fabric validation, and helps network connectivity through FRRouting’s open source routing protocol. It enables the host to be part of the layer 3 network, while supporting layer 2 overlay networks.[citation needed]

Open source projects[edit]

Open Network Install Environment (ONIE)[edit]

In 2012 Cumulus initiated the open network install environment (ONIE) project. The Open Compute Project turned ONIE into an initiative to define an open source install environment for bare metal network switches. A network switch with a ONIE install environment gives data centers the choice of network operating system, disaggregating the networking hardware from the operating system. The Cumulus Linux operating system can be installed on all ONIE compliant switches.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Nvidia acquires Cumulus Networks". Techcrunch. 2020-05-04. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  2. Stacey Higginbotham (March 5, 2012). "The lowdown on stealth startup Cumulus Networks". GigaOM.
  3. Deborah Gage (June 19, 2013). "Bringing Linux to Networking, Cumulus Publicly Emerges" (blog). The Wall Street Journal.[dead link]
  4. Paul Venezia (June 19, 2013). "Cumulus Networks unveils 'Cisco killer'". Infoworld. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  5. Greg Ferro (June 19, 2013). "Cumulus Networks Casts a Shadow On Cisco Strategy". Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. Jack Clark (June 20, 2013). "Cumulus sighting means storm coming for Cisco". The Register. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  7. "Dell Teams With Cumulus Networks To Sell Bare-Metal Switches". Archived from the original on 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2015-04-18. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "HP latest to unbundle switch hardware, software". Network World. 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  9. "Mellanox Lets Cumulus Linux Ride its Ethernet Switches". SDxCentral. 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  10. "Lenovo Partners With Cumulus on Open Networking". eWeek. 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  11. "Co-Founder and CTO JR Rivers Leaves Cumulus Networks". Sdx Central. 20 June 2019.
  12. "Cumulus Networks and Hewlett Packard team up to offer open networking storage for data centers". Tech Republic. 2020-01-07. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  13. "SDN in action: Hands-on with Cumulus Linux". Infoworld. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  14. Michał Choraś; Ryszard S. Choraś, eds. (2018). Image Processing and Communications Challenges 10: 10th International Conference, IP&C'2018 Bydgoszcz, Poland, November 2018, Proceedings. Springer. p. 151. ISBN 9783030036584. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  15. "Cumulus launches NetQ to monitor networks built on its SDN software". SearchSDN. Retrieved 2018-07-11.

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