Cumulus Networks, maker of Cumulus Linux OS for whitebox switches, has upgraded its NetQ collector software to support Kubernetes. NetQ 1.3 is a software agent that can be deployed on Cumulus Linux as well as Linux hosts.
NetQ collects network configuration data and streams it to a database server. Administrators can use NetQ to monitor network state and track events and changes in real time. They can also query the database to investigate the configuration of individual devices as well as the network fabric.
The information collected by NetQ can help with troubleshooting, visibility, and to do things such as confirm whether a configuration change was successful.
The latest version of NetQ now integrates with Kubernetes container orchestration software. A NetQ agent connects to a Kubernetes API server and monitors network-related events in Kubernetes pods. It streams event information to the NetQ database.
The goal is to provide visibility for network operators into container-based networks and help them see connectivity from the container to the host to the switch.
“If you have a service made up of multiple containers, trying to troubleshoot can be complex because you have to go up into the host, and the network engineer often doesn’t have access to the host,” said Josh Leslie, Cumulus CEO, in an interview.
“With this integration, we give information about container movement, container ID, and we can follow it as it moves.”
With the NetQ Kubernetes integration, admins and operators can see new containers come on the network, monitor containers by IP addresses or labels, see how containers are mapped to ports, and ensure that containers are associated with the correct network security and policy groups.
Cumulus says that NetQ 1.3 works with any Container Network Interface (CNI), including those from Calico and Flannel. It also supports Docker Swarm, a competing orchestration platform to Kubernetes (this capability was available in a prior version).
Note that while NetQ can run on Cumulus Linux and Linux hosts such as Ubuntu, CentOS, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the collector doesn’t run on third-party switches, which will limit its visibility in data centers that aren’t exclusively using Cumulus.
At present, NetQ is just a collector. It can’t be used to make changes to a switch. Its goal is to gather information that can inform network administrators and operators.
Leslie says Cumulus has plans to extend NetQ’s capabilities to make it an active tool for tasks such as configuration changes and problem remediation. However, that capability is still a roadmap item.
NetQ 1.3 is available now.