[ppml] too many variables

Leo Bicknell bicknell at ufp.org
Tue Aug 14 13:54:53 UTC 2007

In a message written on Mon, Aug 13, 2007 at 05:53:00PM -0700, Scott Whyte wrote:
> Pick a newly released Core 2 Duo.  How long will Intel be selling it?
> How does that compare with getting it into your RP design, tested,
> produced, OS support integrated, sold, and stocked in your depots?

Intel designates chips for "long life".  That's why Vendor J is
still souring P-III 600's, which were new almost 8 years ago now.
Which one of the current chips is in that bucket, I don't know, but
the vendors could find out.

Plus, your argument doesn't hold for the simple reason that servers
have the same lifespan as routers in most companies.  HP, Dell,
IBM, they don't seem to be going under with changes in Intel's line
of chips.  They don't seem to have support issues.  As the vendors
move to off the shelf parts the arguments about testing, stocking,
and so forth start to go out the window.

More importantly, why specialize?  Vendor J's RE is basically a PC
connected to the backplane with FastEthernet.  They did a lot of
engineering in airflow, sheet metal, and other packaging issues to
put it in a Juniper package, but to what end?

Compare with Avaya.  When they moved to a Linux brain in their phone
switch line they moved the brain out of the specialized forwarding
hardware (the old Definity PBX) and into a, wait for it, PC!  Yes,
an off the shelf 2U PC they source from a third party, connected
to the backplane with Gigabit Ethernet.

Vendors also kill themselves on the depot side because they hate
to give you a free upgrade.  If vendors changed their maintenance
policies to be "what you have or faster", when it became cost
prohibitive to stock P-III 600's they could stop, giving you the
P-III 1.2g that came afterwards when you RMA a part.  It's probably
cheaper to stop stocking multiple parts and provide "free" upgrades
on failure than to stock all the varieties.

Of course, I think if the RE were an external 2RU PC that they sold
for $5,000 (which is still highway robbery) ISP's might upgrade
more than once every 10 years....

The problem here is that large companies don't like to take risk,
and any change is perceived as a risk.  Cisco and Juniper will not
be "creative" in finding a solution, particularly when it may reduce
cost (and thus, revenue).  Small startups that might take the risk
can't play in the specialized forwarding side of things.  We can exist
in this state,  primarily because we're not pushing the cutting edge.

Route Processors are WAY behind current technology.

Fordwarding hardware is WAY ahead of current need.

Cost/bit is the problem, and has been for some number of years.  We
have OC-768, but can't afford to deploy the DWDM systems to support
it.  We have 32 way Xenon boxes, but we can't afford to change the
design to use them as route processors.

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
Read TMBG List - tmbg-list-request at tmbg.org, www.tmbg.org
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