Linux Tactic

Revolutionize Your Network with Cumulus Linux: The Open Source Solution

Introduction to Cumulus Linux

In today’s digital age, networks are the lifeblood of businesses. But as networks grow and become more complex, managing them becomes increasingly difficult.

That’s where Cumulus Linux comes in. Cumulus Linux is a network operating system that uses open source software to deliver cost-effective, agile, and scalable networking solutions.

In this article, we’ll explore what Cumulus Linux is and the advantages of this innovative network virtualization solution. Additionally, we’ll provide a guide on how to download and install Cumulus Linux.

What is Cumulus Linux? Cumulus Linux is an open network operating system that enables network engineers to automate and customize their networks.

This software-based solution allows for easier management of networking switches, routers, and other network devices. Cumulus Linux is built from Linux, the open source operating system widely used in data centers and cloud storage environments.

Thus, network engineers can use the familiar Linux command line interface to configure, monitor, and troubleshoot their networks. Cumulus Linux was designed to support software-defined networking (SDN) and network virtualization.

SDN separates the control plane from the data plane, which allows for more efficient network management. Network virtualization enables multiple virtual networks to run on a single physical network infrastructure.

By leveraging these technologies, Cumulus Linux provides unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and automation in designing and operating networks.

Advantages of Cumulus Linux

1. Linux-Based Networking

As Cumulus Linux is developed from Linux, it delivers flexibility as an open platform, so network engineers can enjoy the benefits of a Linux networking system.

This means that network engineers can use the Linux command line interface to manage their networks, and Cumulus Linux can be easily integrated with existing Linux-based software and tools. Additionally, open source networking software is highly customizable, allowing network engineers to create their own scripts and automate their network management operations.

2. Cost Reduction

As Cumulus Linux uses open source software, it is much cheaper than traditional proprietary network operating systems.

With Cumulus Linux, enterprise-level networking solutions are available at a lower cost, thanks to the use of commodity white-box switches and automation of network operations, including provisioning, monitoring, and security. The cost-efficiency of Cumulus Linux enables businesses to scale their network operations without incurring additional costs.

3. Flexibility

Cumulus Linux offers a high level of flexibility, enabling network engineers to customize their network solutions.

This is because Cumulus Linux enables network virtualization and supports container networking, allowing network engineers to create multiple virtual networks with different requirements on one physical network. This flexibility means that network operations can be easily scaled according to the business’s needs, making it easier to adapt to an ever-changing IT environment.

Downloading Cumulus Linux

1. Cumulus VX

Cumulus VX is a community-supported virtual machine that runs on virtualization platforms like VMware, KVM, and VirtualBox.

This solution allows users to try out Cumulus Linux features for free, without having to purchase physical equipment. This makes Cumulus VX an ideal choice for testing network topologies and applications before deploying them in your network infrastructure.

2. Hardware Compatibility

Prior to downloading Cumulus Linux, it is important to ensure that the hardware you are using is compatible with the software.

Cumulus Networks provides a compatibility list on their website to help users find compatible hardware solutions.

Installing Cumulus Linux VX

1. VirtualBox

To install Cumulus VX in VirtualBox, download the Cumulus VX virtual machine image (VMDK or QCOW2) from the Cumulus Networks website and import the file into VirtualBox.

From there, create a virtual machine with the minimum requirements of 4 CPUs, 4GB of RAM and a minimum 8GB hard disk. 2.


To install Cumulus VX in KVM, download the Cumulus VX virtual machine image (QCOW2) from the Cumulus Networks website. After downloading the file, use KVM to create and launch the virtual machine.

3. VMware

To install Cumulus VX in VMware, download the Cumulus VX virtual machine image (VMDK) from the Cumulus Networks website and import the file into VMware.

Once the image is imported, create a new virtual machine and follow the prompts to complete the installation.


In conclusion, Cumulus Linux is an open source network operating system that provides flexible, efficient, and cost-effective networking solutions. Cumulus Linux enables network engineers to automate and customize their networks with the familiar Linux command line interface, and supports software-defined networking (SDN) and network virtualization.

By downloading and installing Cumulus VX, engineers can test the software before deploying it on physical hardware. Overall, Cumulus Linux offers an innovative solution for network virtualization that is cost-effective and easy to use, making it the ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.

Using Cumulus Linux

As mentioned in the previous section, Cumulus Linux is an open network operating system that provides unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and automation in designing and operating networks. In this section, we will discuss how to use Cumulus Linux, including its command line interface, compatibility and hardware support, and features.

Command Line Interface

One of the most significant advantages of Cumulus Linux is its command line interface (CLI). The CLI, known as Network Command Line Utility (NCLU), is similar to the Linux CLI and provides a familiar and easy-to-use interface for network configuration.

NCLU commands are auto-complete, and syntax error messages can direct you to needed options, which helps with the initial learning curve. Guardrails is another important feature of NCLU.

This tool helps ensure the commands you use are correctly formatted, including interfaces that need to be configured, ensuring uniformity throughout the network. Also, Guardrails allows you to audit configurations before committing them, providing an additional layer of safety.

Another powerful feature is the ability to roll back any changes that have been made in the configuration by simply entering the “rollback” command.

Compatibility and Hardware Support

Cumulus Linux is designed to run on different types of hardware, including x86_64, ARM, and PowerPC architectures. It can run on both switch hardware and servers with NICs, providing flexibility in network deployment.

Additionally, Cumulus Linux supports a variety of ASIC hardware options, including Broadcom and Mellanox, which provides a wide range of features and capabilities to different organisations. Cumulus Linux also supports different types of networks, including data center, service provider, and web-scale environments, making it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.


Cumulus Linux offers numerous features that make it a popular choice for network engineers. One of its key features is compatibility with two of the most popular networking vendors – Cisco and Juniper – making it easy for network engineers to migrate

to Cumulus Linux without retraining staff.

Even if the staff has no prior knowledge of Linux, they can easily configure and manage network devices using the familiar networking terminology.

Another significant advantage of Cumulus Linux is its easy configuration and management features.

Cumulus Linux uses open-source server and network management tools such as Ansible, Puppet, and Chef for configuration management. By using these tools, network configuration can be easily automated and automated, reduce time wasted on repetitive configurations.

Cumulus Linux also provides a variety of handy management and automation tools that are absent in traditional network vendor offerings. A perfect example is NetQ, a network operations tool that uses real-time telemetry to monitor and troubleshoot network issues.

NetQ provides a centralised location for networking inventory, analytics, monitoring, and troubleshooting, making network diagnosis and troubleshooting more streamlined and efficient.


Like any complex software, documentation is essential for the smooth and effective use of Cumulus Linux. Cumulus Networks has provided ample support resources on their website, including user guides, API references, and numerous articles on their Knowledge Base.

Additionally, they offer a subscription service that provides customers with one-on-one support from a dedicated team of technical experts to assist during complex network issues.



To access Cumulus Linux documentation, navigate to their website and choose the appropriate documentation according to the version of Cumulus Linux you use.

In the user guide, readers will find instructions on how to configure and manage Cumulus Linux, including how to install and configure the software and how to use the NCLU to manage your network. API reference is also critical for developers who are interested in Cumulus Linux features.

The API reference highlights all of the external components and libraries, allowing developers to write code that interacts with Cumulus Linux.


Cumulus Linux offers a modern, flexible, and cost-effective networking solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. With easy-to-use command line interface and support for a variety of architectures, hardware replacements and directory configurations can be seamlessly managed.

Cumulus Linux provides a network operating system that powers software-defined networking and network virtualization solutions. With all these features and documentation, it’s no wonder that Cumulus Linux is the network operating system of choice for many businesses.

Cumulus Linux is an open source network operating system that provides a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective networking solution. Its command line interface, known as NCLU, brings familiarity and ease of use to network configuration.

Cumulus Linux also offers compatibility with different types of hardware and networks, including data centers and service providers. Additional features, such as easy configuration, management, and automation tools, Network operations tool NetQ, and extensive documentation, make Cumulus Linux a popular network operating system.

With Cumulus Linux, businesses can automate and customize their networks, leading to more efficient and cost-effective network management.

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