Well, well. What do we have here? It seems that earlier this month at Cisco's analyst conference, the networking giant announced that it is going to start separating hardware from it's IOS software: unbundling the two in effect.
Obviously, this is something Vyatta has believed in for a long time. We think that unbundling of networking hardware and software is a natural course for the market to take long term. The fact is, people need to be able to choose hardware and software platforms independently to best suit the needs of their particular situation. With an unbundled system, you get greater flexibility. The question for Cisco is whether you will also get better pricing? My guess is that you won't.
Further, Cisco seems to be waving around the currently über-hot "virtualization" word, saying that IOS will be able to run multiple applications on the same hardware. To quote Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." Will Cisco's virtualization solution handle other, 3rd party applications, or will it be Cisco-specific? Does Cisco really mean virtualization with a true hypervisor, or are they just talking about adding processes such that customers can restart BGP without rebooting a whole system? Who knows. What I'm pretty sure about is that customers will have to pay more for the privilege.
I think the question you have to ask yourself is where the long-term power lies: with closed-source solutions, even if unbundled, or with open-source solutions where the community can drive things forward at a faster pace? Vyatta obviously believes strongly in the power of an open community. Watching our download weblogs, we think many of you do, too.