Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ben King rocks

Ashlee Vance over at The Register just posted what has to be one of the funniest press stories on the VC3 launch. I was laughing out loud. My guess is that Ashlee was laughing out loud about the Dear John page.

As icing on the proverbial cake, the comments section saw some back-and-forth between the typical Cisco fanboys and those who know the real deal.

Somebody named Michael H delivered the first blow:

Their entire product line is based around commodity PC hardware. Performance is horrid compared to gear from any real vendor, where traffic is switched at a hardware level using dedicated ASICs.

The whitepaper on their site favorably compares the performance of a modern PC to an old, small Cisco router designed to route T1s (1.5mbit/s), something even a 486 could handle.

This brings out the old "Cisco uses dedicated ASICs" stuff (again). In fact, as we have talked about numerous times in this blog, that's simply untrue. Many of Cisco's low and mid-range routers use software forwarding (everything from Linksys up through the 7200 uses software, I'm told by the former Cisco employees now working at Vyatta, sometimes on MIPS-based cores, and other times on more pedestrian processors). I'm assuming "the whitepaper" on the Vyatta site actually refers to the Tolly test report comparing Vyatta running on a Dell PowerEdge 860 to the Cisco 2821. The 2821 is hardly "old," being part of the recently-introduced ISR family.

Ben King then makes one of the best replies:

I have used Vyatta and Cisco extensively, and I have probably completed one of the larger Vyatta deployments by a UK company (company WAN spanning 6 countries).

A few responses:

1) Vyatta vs Cisco, I am sure there is a point where the high end Ciscos out perform PC opensource based solutions, however at the commodity level this simply isn't the case. Bang for buck when you look at what you get with Vyatta feature and performance wise the equivalent Cisco is way way more expensive.

2) Vyatta vs Other Opensource, the argument is absolutely right, Vyatta does nothing that you can't get anywhere else on the opensource community, we actually use a Debian/iptables/imq solution elsewhere in our ISP business very successfully, and I would recommend if you are doing anything specialist you stick with the bespoke route. However Vyatta is extremely quick to deploy, give me a bare metal server, a Vyatta CD, and I will have an installed working Vyatta router with base config in 10 minutes, you simply can't do this with a custom build.

3) Cisco vs Opensource, long raging argument, we run our albeit small ISP all on Linux opensource routing equipment because its cheaper. Where Cisco wins though is support and the high end gear.

4) Support. Where Vyatta really wins is the support, if you decided go with Vyatta pay the subscription fee and get the support, its really superb.

Ben has blogged about Vyatta and his experience before. It's a good read. Ben, if you're out there, drop me a note (dave at Vyatta). I'd like to hook you up with some press people.

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