Cumulus Rolls Out Open Source Network Automation Toolkit

Cumulus Networks today rolled out an open source toolkit that automates network testing and configuration. It uses Ansible for automation, and it helps companies deploy networks using infrastructure as code instead of configuring and managing their IT infrastructure manually.

“Everyone understands the concepts of CI/CD, everyone understands the value of infrastructure as code, but they struggle to put it into production,” said Partho Mishra, president and chief product officer at Cumulus Networks.

The SDN vendor has been using this toolkit during the last two years to design and deploy its customers’ networks, he said. Now it’s making these tools available as a product that includes: a fully populated variables file object model, complete Jinja2 templates, Ansible playbooks and network validation tests enabling continuous integration (CI), and a framework for an infrastructure-as-code deployment. It uses Ansible core modules and doesn’t require any add-ons or plugins.

“We are essentially open sourcing a complete, out-of-the-box package of tested scripts, playbooks, that can be used to set up typical data center and other network deployments,” Mishra said.

It’s available in GitLab, and “we are leaving this code under creative commons license,” he added. “The code is freely distributable, and people can make changes to it. So we hope over time we have a community that builds on top of what we have already put out there and by virtue of that, you accelerate the speed at which the community adopts automation.”

Featured eBrief

Data Sheet on Unified Data Management Placeholder Image
Data Sheet on Unified Data Management
Data Sheet on Unified Data Management
Sponsored By Enea AB

The Unified Data Manager is a key part of the Subscriber Management and Policy Control portfolio. It performs the 3GPP functions of Unified Data Management (UDM) in 5G networks and interworks with any Home Subscriber Server (HSS) in 4G networks.


By clicking the link, I consent to share my contact information with the sponsor(s) of this content, who may reach out to you as part of their marketing campaigns, and register for SDxCentral email communications. See how we use your data: Privacy Policy.

Ansible Now, Chef and Puppet Soon
Cumulus chose Ansible as the basis for the automated network configuration software “because that’s the one we see as being most widely used in our customer base,” Mishra said. But over the next few months, “you’ll see the same things go up in Chef or Puppet or SaltStack.”

The toolkit also includes automated tests using Cumulus’ NetQ telemetry and validation platform. Code that is committed to the repository automatically triggers the creation of a virtual lab environment with Cumulus VX, a virtual instance of Cumulus Linux operation system. This runs tests against Cumulus’ network, including validating maximum transition units (MTUs) and verifying that routing sessions come up as expected.

This testing and validation piece is important because “with automation you can set up 500 switches with the push of a button, but you can also destroy 500 switches with the push of a button,” Mishra said. “The validation suite looks for functional errors.”

Cumulus in the Cloud Updates

Cumulus also today updated Cumulus in the Cloud, which is the vendor’s self-service customer demo environment. This includes a full spine and leaf network with Cumulus Linux, including servers running Ubuntu and all nodes integrated with Cumulus NetQ, and all ready to use in under five minutes, according to the vendor.

It also now has deployable, production-ready demos, as well as a unique Cumulus NetQ 2.0 command-line interface and graphical-user interface instance for customers’ demo environments.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x