When it comes to a new networking OS, Linux is the Linux of networking

Structure 2013 JR Rivers Cumulus Networks

How is networking like farming? JR Rivers, the co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Networks, which launched earlier today, tried to use our evolution from a hunter-gatherer society to today’s food acquisition environment to explain how technological advances that speed up distribution and make distribution or product manufacturing cheaper change societies.

“Large economic transformations occur when we can make distributing goods faster, easier and more affordable,” Rivers.

In the computing world, networking is apparently still in the hunter-gatherer stage where vendors build gear that Rivers called a “single vendor blob,” during his presentation Wednesday at the GigaOM Structure conference.

“This is great for the vendors because they get to control the experience, and make incredible margins, but it sucks for you because it is expensive and takes you out of the pace of innovation,” he said. This is exactly why Facebook is working hard to build an open switch as well as its own networking fabric. And Rivers hopes that the breaking up of that vendor blob will help move networking to a more modern era.

Cumulus, which is building a Linux operating system for switches that use merchant silicon, has the potential to be an open element in the new networking stack. Rivers said, “We want to blow up that single-vendor blob and democratize bandwidth.”

Check out the rest of our Structure 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page

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