The final presentation from Networking Field Day 17 was unique: Mellanox, Ixia, and Cumulus shared the presentation slot to talk about their individual merits as well as how they work together.
Mellanox builds Ethernet and storage switches for a variety of use cases. The company touted its custom silicon as a differentiator, as well as the fact that you can run Mellanox using its own network OS, or load a variety of third-party NOSs (hint: Cumulus is one of them).
After a brief tour through its Ethernet product line, Mellanox made the case for a Clos/leaf-spine configuration as the ideal design for a data center network, and EVPN VXLAN as the ideal fabric for that design.
Next up, Ixia presented on its flagship IxNetwork testing suite and how it can be used to validate the performance, scalability, and efficiency of a data center network.
The company followed with a demonstration of a test of a data center network built from Mellanox switches running the Cumulus NOS and using a VXLAN fabric.
Last but not least, Cumulus presented on its Cumulus Linux network OS and how it works on whitebox switches. Cumulus touted the advantages of a Linux core, including the ability to manage the software using common tools such as Puppet and Chef.
For those not conversant with Linux, Cumulus also shared details about its Network Command Line Utility (NCLU), a CLI that network operators will find familiar.
The presentation also demonstrated some of the capabilities of Cumulus NetQ, a telemetry system that collects state information from NetQ agents running on Cumulus and other Linux OSs, bare metal hosts, and VMs, and then sends that state information to a database that engineers can query.
Using NetQ, engineers can validate network state, test configuration changes in a virtual lab, and diagnose problems.