VANCOUVER, British Columbia — When JR Rivers started Cumulus Networks in 2010, the idea of white-box networking was not a popular one. After the company first emerged from stealth in 2013, Rivers explained to EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet that his company was going to start a new way for organizations to consumer and acquire networking gear — which is exactly what he has done over the last five years.
Now in 2018, Cumulus' model of enabling white-box networking with a Linux-based distribution has increasingly become the norm, and along with that shift, Cumulus has become increasingly successful. The company has raised a total of $129 million in funding, including a $43 million Series D round that was announced on Jan. 23.
In a video interview with EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet at the 2018 OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Rivers outlined how the company has evolved in recent years and where it is going next.
"We have help to change the world around with the concept of buying switching hardware and software separately," Rivers said.
Since the company was created, Linux and specifically Debian Linux have been at the core of the Cumulus Linux networking operating system.
"One of the benefits of taking that path is you get a whole set of applications that work natively on the platform that people can just pick up, and it also keeps us honest," Rivers said. It's really easy in this world to take an open-source component hack it up and make it your own, so it forces us to work upstream."
Rivers emphasized that Cumulus works as an active member of the Debian Linux community, contributing code that both it and the broader community benefits from.
Looking forward, Rivers said that Cumulus Linux 4.0 is in active development based on the Debian Stretch release. Additionally he noted that improvements in the user interface are being worked on.
"We're going to be coming out with some new platforms, based on new silicon, focused on the edge and where edge compute meets data center," he said.
Watch the full video interview with JR Rivers below.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.