Cumulus addition boosts NVIDIA’s network portfolio

Cumulus Networks has become an official part of the networking business unit of GPU pioneer NVIDIA, formed earlier this year with the latter’s acquisition of Mellanox. NVIDIA has said the combined entity is all about offering a complete networking toolset to those gearing up for growth in areas such as AI, cloud and high-performance computing.

“The data centre is rapidly evolving into the new unit of computing,” said Amit Katz, Vice President Ethernet Switch at Mellanox in a recent blog. “It’s built on a distributed network of compute and storage resources users need to program to address their changing workloads and expanding datasets. That’s why Cumulus is a key part of NVIDIA’s networking vision. It provides a popular suite of networking software from operating systems to analytics that gives users choice in how they deploy and automate their data centres.”

Amit Kanz of Mellanox

Cumulus supports more than 2,000 customers using 130 hardware platforms that run Cumulus Linux, its operating system for network switches. Mellanox has also been giving users a choice of networking software under its Open Ethernet strategy.

Mellanox supports Cumulus Linux as well as SONiC, the open source system managed by the Open Compute Project. It also embraces DENT, a distributed Linux software framework for retail and other enterprises at the edge of the network.

“NVIDIA is rapidly moving into data centre networking with its acquisitions of Mellanox and now Cumulus,” commented Alan Weckel, founding analyst, 650 Group. “Data centre networking is rapidly evolving to support AI and machine learning, and NVIDIA is putting together all the pieces of next-generation architectures. AI and ML put different requirements on the network and is one of the key growth drivers in data centre switching during the next five years.”

SONiC, added Weckel, is rapidly evolving beyond Microsoft’s operating system features and functionality are added: “The outlook is strong with SONiC support expanding beyond Fixed 1RU boxes and into the larger modular chassis, which we saw Nokia announce recently,” he said. “With the rapid adoption of new architectures with 400/800 Gbps, systems with SONiC will become a much larger portion of the market over the next several years.”

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