Nvidia set to acquire data centre outfit Cumulus Networks

Details of the deal haven't been announced but could be in the hundreds of millions

Tech giant Nvidia is set to gobble up networking software firm Cumulus Networks in a bid to further enhance its data centre credentials.

Cumulus, which was founded in 2010, is an open source-focused firm that specialises in helping organisations optimise their data centre networking stack through its Linux distribution for network switches, as well as various network management tools.

While its bread and butter is software, it does also have its own hardware offering in the shape of the Cumulus Express data centre switch.

The acquisition is part of Nvidia’s continued drive into the enterprise and cloud market. While the company is probably best known for its graphics processing units (GPUs), initiatives like its EGX edge computing platform and its collaboration with King's College London to develop AI technology that can detect cancer in scan images have seen it become a serious data centre player as well.

Further smoothing the way to this purchase is the fact Cumulus already had a partnership with high-performance networking firm Mellanox, which Nvidia formally acquired last month after announcing the merger in March last year. 

Underlining the importance of this partnership in Nvidia’s decision to make the acquisition, Amit Katz, VP of Ethernet Switch at Mellanox, said: “In March 2016, Mellanox announced a partnership with Cumulus and started shipping combined offerings.

“Today, the ONIE environment Cumulus created is a software foundation for Mellanox’s bare-metal switches. Together, we built DENT, a distributed Linux software framework for retail and other enterprises at the edge of the network. And our Onyx operating system continues to expand, especially in Ethernet Storage Fabrics (ESF).”

No financial details of the deal have been announced, although it’s likely to be significant, given Cumulus has raised $134 million in funding over the past 10 years.

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