LLDP and other features that Cumulus may have...


So I get a recurring question regarding limitations with the Cisco L2 and L3 images that run on Linux. I know those limitations (such as running LLDP), but is there a comparison chart showing exactly what Cumulus VX supports that Cisco L2 and L3 images do not support? It would be great to see a chart that shows LLDP and other features supported by Cumulus vx.

6 replies

Userlevel 5
As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it has been requested. Thank you for the suggestion.
Scott Suehle wrote:

As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it ha...

That would definitely help our community out! Thanks!
Userlevel 4
Scott Suehle wrote:

As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it ha...

Hey Matt,Is there a list of desired features you want to see? Comparing a Cisco box and a Cumulus box is not an easy 1:1.
Or Is the ask between Cumulus Linux and VX?

or the difference between Vanilla Linux and Cumulus Linux?
or is the ask for Cumulus Linux and Cisco, or Cumulus VX and IOL?
Having been a previous Cisco Employee, IOL was something internal and Cisco was pushing towards VIRL, a paid and supported Virtual Machine environment. I know GNS3 could work for certain Cisco images (used it in the past) and it does work for Cumulus VX. If you are looking for a feature comparison to purchase Cumulus Linux it is probably time to talk to a Cumulus Solutions Engineer and make sure its the right product for you. For example if you want to learn VTP on Cumulus Linux that is not a feature we want to implement right now.
Scott Suehle wrote:

As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it ha...

Hello Sean,

You have hit the nail on the head. The reason why the GNS3 Community is valuable from a vender's standpoint is two fold:

1. Exposure to a core set of Networking Engineers that are used to beta testing and responsible in selecting the next 'latest and greatest' product in the next cycle build out.

2. These engineers become champions of the products they evaluate for their internal decision makers.

So on the first point you make, a comparison chart makes someone like a Systems Engineer look at a glance at all the feature sets the Cumulux Vx stacks up to a 'defacto' model that they are currently using in the infrastructure.

Regarding the GNS3 community, there used to be a time not so long ago, that users chalked up to the Emulating Software (GNS3) as being deficient. It is now actually the opposite. The linux emulated virtual machines that are released to closed or public forums now can be fully vetted out and found completely deficient (or viable) in any real testing of production counterparts inside the newer GNS3 platform. Case in point, your Cumulus VX disk image literally took me 15 minutes to have VMWare, Virtualbox and QEmu emulate your vx. I was in the console and going through the tutorial that one of your employees was so generous to share. I even went so far as to evaluate the image and give my thoughts inside my blog within the GNS3 Community.

The 1:1 relation really should be focused on the family of Operating Systems inside each vender. I don't expect an exhaustive comparison with Cisco, but from the vender's own hardware product line. We know there are standards that if the image is written along those same lines will work with other venders following the same standard.

As many engineers take these virtual versions "out for a spin" they were surprised at what they can do. Many venders have great Layer 3 features and really helped GNS3 come to the forefront since many projects relate to Layer 3 type decisions. I cannot reveal all the engineers that were able to vet out new topologies using GNS3 and an image that is comparable to the ones running on hardware in their production network.

The biggest crux in all Routing and Switching vms (R+Svm) software is the Layer 2 ASIC limitations. Now I'm only speaking for myself, but surely there must be a way to grab the process that run on ASIC and build out a very specific memory space for those rare chipsets. At this point, I have evaluated many Cisco IOS, Junipers, Alcatel Lucent, yours, Extreme, Huawei's simulator and so on and so forth. Some are better than others (even between Cisco's own IOS releases). But expanding layer 2 into the OS is a big order, but a necessary need.

Collectively speaking, advancements in Layer 2 functionality that is not dependent of the ASICS of the box will be very helpful. Also know, all the engineers know that having an emulated IOS will be inferior without the hardware. The acceptance of the OS (and eventually the acceptance of any vender's product line) will be in the ability to replicate as closely as possible Layer 2 and Layer 3 features. That will give internal Cumulus Champions the results and confidence they need to convince other IT Pros that this platform will work OVER the defacto at the current and present state of IT Operations. In my mind, the question isn't whether Cisco will be replaced...but rather WHICH one will? The faster a vender comes out with an image that is very close to the 1:1 of their own brand at both a layer 2 and layer 3, will be very popular.

I hope this makes sense to you and you are free to contact me at any time to discuss this further.

Sincerely,

Matt Raio
Manager of Support Services and Technology Strategist at GNS3 Technologies Inc.
Userlevel 4
Scott Suehle wrote:

As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it ha...

Hey Matt,

Enjoyed the detailed response. Hopefully my responses make sense:

1. Exposure to a core set of Networking Engineers that are used to beta testing and responsible in selecting the next 'latest and greatest' product in the next cycle build out.
2. These engineers become champions of the products they evaluate for their internal decision makers.

I think you are selling yourself short on 'learning' or 'trying it out'. I like to think of VMs as risk mitigation. Imagine developing Ansible or Puppet scripts for 500 devices. Are you going to deploy them on a live network or try it out on GNS3 where its nice and safe 🙂 Maybe add a third point to your list.

So on the first point you make, a comparison chart makes someone like a Systems Engineer look at a glance at all the feature sets the Cumulux Vx stacks up to a 'defacto' model that they are currently using in the infrastructure.


Did I provide enough information previously for this? Let me know what additional information you need. If there is particular Layer 2 ASIC limitations you want to know about for Cumulus VX let me know.

Regarding the GNS3 community, there used to be a time not so long ago, that users chalked up to the Emulating Software (GNS3) as being deficient. It is now actually the opposite. The linux emulated virtual machines that are released to closed or public forums now can be fully vetted out and found completely deficient (or viable) in any real testing of production counterparts inside the newer GNS3 platform. Case in point, your Cumulus VX disk image literally took me 15 minutes to have VMWare, Virtualbox and QEmu emulate your vx. I was in the console and going through the tutorial that one of your employees was so generous to share. I even went so far as to evaluate the image and give my thoughts inside my blog within the GNS3 Community.

Expect more labs, info, etc. I think my boss is talking to someone at GNS3 right now to get you guys involved in our training Boot Camp.

But expanding layer 2 into the OS is a big order, but a necessary need.

For example: LLDP will work on our switch, spanning-tree will work, the only limitations that really bother me are around iptables not matching 1:1 and we are working with Linux kernel teams to figure out a way to have something like a netlink message for the hardware and kernel to provide messaging around iptables / acl rules. Not every iptables rule is supported by hardware and vice versa. For our box you would use cl-acltool but its easy enough to mimic with iptables. If you want to use the Cumulus Workbench and try a real switch and compare it I can arrange that as well. The differences are very very minimal to something like IOS or JUNOS. We have a huge advantage here because Cumulus Linux is Linux.

Collectively speaking, advancements in Layer 2 functionality that is not dependent of the ASICS of the box will be very helpful. Also know, all the engineers know that having an emulated IOS will be inferior without the hardware. The acceptance of the OS (and eventually the acceptance of any vender's product line) will be in the ability to replicate as closely as possible Layer 2 and Layer 3 features. That will give internal Cumulus Champions the results and confidence they need to convince other IT Pros that this platform will work OVER the defacto at the current and present state of IT Operations.

Internal QA work, internal training, etc, is done on VMs as well as hardware and its the only way to scale as a company. Providing our customers VMs was a no-brainer with multiple internal champions.

Again Let us know if you need more information. You can find me on linkedin here: http://bit.ly/1JrvU1S
Scott Suehle wrote:

As of right now we do not have this. I will definitely take this back and let the team know it ha...

Hello Sean,

You have been most accommodating and I appreciate the candid response. The only thing left is to devote time to evaluating the product. At the moment, I'm a little swamped with the new release from GNS3 1.4, but after most of that is completed, I should have time to check out all the features. Thanks again!

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