As an investor in Cumulus Networks*, I often give the company’s elevator pitch to technologists and networking folks I meet on my travels. Almost universally the reaction is very positive. People quickly understand both the economic and operational benefits of unlocking networking from its green (sometimes blue) box. They have seen this movie before. The single vendor blob, aka “mainframe approach”, gives way to disaggregated supply chain, and customers win via choice and openness.
I’m almost always asked a quick follow-up about Cumulus Networks, “Where can I buy it?” Today I am proud to say you can “buy it from Dell.”
Today’s announcement from Dell and Cumulus Networks is a turning point in the evolution of networking and is another enabling piece, fulfilling the vision of the software-defined data center. Dell becomes the first Tier 1, IT supplier to sell bare-metal, fixed-configuration switches and will be offering Cumulus Linux as an option for the networking operating system. Dell pioneered the modern server supply chain and is the ideal partner with which to usher in the new era of networking. Dell has heard first hand from customers the demand for bare metal switches and is leading the market’s transformation.
Incumbent vendors have attempted to minimize the impact of the transition to bare- metal networking as a niche for the ultra-sophisticated, DIY Web-scale crowd. While this argument has always been little more than FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) spread by those with the most to lose, today’s announcement blows it out of the water. Now getting into bare-metal networking requires little more than a browser and a credit card. Dell’s world-class hardware and supply chain are now behind Cumulus Networks and are already driving the Linux networking model into the enterprise market.
Today bare-metal networking goes main stream. Are you ready for a revolution?
*Denotes a current or former Battery portfolio company. For a full list of all Battery investments and exits, please click here.