This section provides an overview of Cumulus VX and lists supported hypervisors.
Cumulus VX is a virtual appliance that helps you become familiar with NVIDIA networking technology, and provides a platform for you to prototype network operations and develop custom applications before you deploy into a production environment. Without the need for a bare metal switch or specialized hardware, Cumulus VX runs on all popular hypervisors, making traditional networking protocols such as BGP and MLAG, NVIDIA-specific technologies such as ONIE, and Prescriptive Topology Manager (PTM) available for testing and configuration.
Cumulus VX is a virtual machine (VM) on a standard x86 environment. The VM is the same Cumulus Linux operating system supported on NVIDIA ethernet switches and contains the same software features but in a VM format. Cumulus VX provides full data plane functionality through the Linux kernel, as well as layer 2 VLAN, VXLAN bridging, and VXLAN routing capabilities.
Cumulus VX is designed for testing and not data plane performance. Cumulus VX is not intended to act as a cloud virtual router. No testing or integration has been done with software packet acceleration integrations like SR-IOV or DPDK.
Cumulus in the Cloud
As an alternative to Cumulus VX, which requires a hypervisor (or hypervisor and orchestrator), you can use Cumulus in the Cloud, which is a free, personal, virtual data center network that provides a low-effort way to see NVIDIA networking technology in action. Your virtual data center consists of two racks with two dual-homed servers connected with a leaf-spine network. This is a good way to try out Cumulus Linux if you have platform or disk limitations.
Cumulus VX is supported with:
- KVM-QEMU and Vagrant
- VirtualBox and GNS3
- VirtualBox and Vagrant
- VMware Fusion, Worksation, and vSphere ESXi
Cumulus VX is supported with VMware Fusion, Workstation, and vSphere ESXi; however, this document provides setup instructions for VMware vSphere ESXi only.
Cumulus VX Compared with Cumulus Linux
The VM is the same Cumulus Linux operating system supported on NVIDIA Ethernet switches and contains all the same software features but in a VM format. Cumulus VX provides full data plane functionality through the Linux kernel, as well as layer 2 VLANs and both VXLAN bridging and VXLAN routing capabilities. Due to hardware limitations, certain functionality is supported in Cumulus VX but not on ethernet switches. Due to hardware specific implementations, certain features are not supported in Cumulus VX.
Cumulus VX supports all software functions like BGP, spanning-tree, and SNMP, as well as any automation tooling and third-party packages.
|Cumulus VX||Cumulus Linux|
The following table outlines the similarities and differences between Cumulus VX and Cumulus Linux:
Feature or Functionality
|Cumulus Linux||Cumulus VX|
|Upgrade available using an ONIE binary or with APT||Yes||Yes|
|Line rate packet forwarding||Yes via switch ASIC||No|
|Software license install||Yes||No|
|Temperature and sensor outputs||Yes||No1|
|ACL and routing entry limits||Limited depending on switch ASIC||Only limited by VM memory|
|Designed and tested for production||Yes||No|
|Layer 2 VLANs||Yes||Yes|
|Layer 2 bridging||Yes||Yes|
|Layer 3 routing||Yes||Yes|
|Routing protocols (BGP, OSPF)||Yes||Yes|
|ECMP||Yes, based on hardware hashing||Yes, based on Linux kernel hashing|
|Packet marking and remarking||Yes||No2|
|QoS buffer management||Yes||No|
|QoS buffer monitoring||Yes||No|
|Mellanox What Just Happened (WJH)||Yes||No|
|Zero Touch Provisioning||Yes||Yes|
|Third party Linux packages||Yes||Yes|
|DHCP and DHCP relay||Yes||Yes|
|LAG and MLAG||Yes||Yes|
|Multicast, IGMP and PIM||Yes||Yes|
|VRFs, management VRF||Yes||Yes|
1. Cumulus VX provides artificial temperature and sensor outputs for simulation. You can control and test monitoring tools using these artificial sensors.
2. Marking and remarking is supported in Cumulus VX using kernel and Traffic Control (TC) commands, but these are not supported the same way in Cumulus Linux.
3. ACLs are supported in Cumulus VX using iptables, but the
cl-acltool command is not supported.
4. NAT is supported in Cumulus VX using iptables but not with
cl-acltool. Using NAT within Cumulus VX is not the same as Cumulus Linux.
As a Cumulus Linux customer, you can receive formal GSS support for Cumulus VX to:
- Test and stage network topologies before deploying to production.
- Analyze, troubleshoot, and correct issues with configurations and software bugs in Cumulus VX that might also apply to Cumulus Linux running on physical devices.
- Analyze, troubleshoot, and correct issues with Cumulus VX if behaving differently than physical devices. This does not apply in scenarios where it is not possible to emulate physical hardware with virtualization.
NVIDIA does not provide support for:
- Cumulus VX used in a production environment.
- Virtualization environments, including installation, setup, and configuration.
- Automation tool playbooks, including creation and troubleshooting.
- Performance or scalability issues related to network traffic running through Cumulus VX instances.
For non-customers, Cumulus VX remains a community-supported product, with no formal support obligations from NVIDIA.