What is the different between Cumulus vs Openvswitch ?

HI All, I am a newbie for these products. Please help answer me what are the different between them. Best Regards, CCH

1 reply

Userlevel 4
Hey Chheang,

I will bite and try to answer your question. Openvswitch (also written Open vSwitch) is a "is a software implementation of a virtual multilayer network switch". For all intents and purposes Open vSwitch is an 'app' (application) that can be installed on top of Linux that gives that Linux distribution the ability to do networking features (like LACP bonding, stp, VLANs, etc).

Cumulus Linux, instead of using Open vSwitch, uses native Linux software to do networking. Instead of using Open vSwitch for STP (Spanning-Tree Protocol) we use and test the open source application mstpd. Instead of using Open vSwitch for VLANs, we use the native linux bridge. Instead of using Open vSwitch for VXLAN we use ifupdown2 to program the native VXLAN support the Linux Kernel already has.

To be honest I don't understand the history of OVS. I imagine it was written because the creator(s) did not want to deal with Linux and just wanted to build an App do do exactly what they wanted in the time frame given. Cumulus Linux leverages the Linux ecosystem and improves it, where-as Open vSwitch has its own CLI (Command-Line Interface) and seems for the most part, a 'suite' of software that comes packaged together. NOTE: lots of people think OpenStack requires OVS, but it does not, we tend to push customers towards the linux bridge model because its much simpler to troubleshoot and understand.

That being said, we run OVS on Cumulus Linux. We translate commands for ovsdb (the API) into Kernel commands so we can be programmed by network virtualization controllers like VMware NSX and Midokura Midonet.

Hopefully others will chime in. From the few times I have used OVS I was not a fan... so I am fairly biased here (this was before joining Cumulus Networks).