real hardware router VS linux router
mike-nanog at tiedyenetworks.com
Thu Feb 19 09:05:46 CST 2009
Our operation uses linux everywhere and we have our own in house
tiny embedded flavor with all the tools and things that make it suited
for use in big and small boxes as many kinds of router and general
packet flipping appliance. I have confidence built on long term, real
world experience that says I can do this sucessfully, but the price I
pay for it is the knowledge curve and having had to invent the 'right'
mix of stuff, which includes compact flash based boot media, read-only
filesystem, and minimal management (command line via ssh, you need to be
an expert), and as well as having had to select the right hardware
(constraints include power on always, no dumb bios to stop the boot
process, and other issues).
I would never ever reccomend that anyone just 'use linux' for
network appliances. It *can* do the job, but all the baggage of 'pc
hardware' typically conspires to make for less than rock solid. Stuff
like hard disks, which crash malfunction corrupt, and issues like - does
the box power on when power is applied or does someone have to press a
button? (You will note, most commercial hardware like routers and
switches either don't have a power button, or simply default to being
'on' unless you take pains to flip buttons somewhere. But, PC's
typically have a power button you have to press to make it come on). And
there's other issues too - PC Bios's also conspire to get in the way and
stop the boot process. If they detect some sort of error, a key press, a
missing disk, or many other excuses, they stop cold waiting for someone
to 'press f1 to continue', or worse. Also most PC systems also have
single power supply units, and that which are less sturdy construction
and are more likely to burn out at some point than the more heavy duty
commercial grade units you see in commercial router/switch equipment).
The difference then between linux and 'a hardware router' then is
that the manufacturer - cisco, juniper, whomever - has a large degree of
control over the integration between their software and the hardware it
runs on, and can dictate all of the things that makes the product work
like the boot process and it's internal storage and wether there are
sufficient fans and what kind of power supplie(s) are present and wether
there's a hardware watchdog (that works!) and the type of chips serving
as the ethernet controllers (which dictates all kinds of things that the
mnf considers 'features'). It's a long list.
To summarize, you can do many jobs with linux. How WELL you do them,
however, is more of a function of how much exerience and knowledge that
you have. You can also do many jobs with commercial boxes, but how well
you do that job can be expressed more in terms of selecting the right
platform and plugging the right configuration lines into it, and both of
these can easilly be 'done well' in exchange for money (router vendor
support team, etc).
Deric Kwok wrote:
> Hi All
> Actually, what is the different hardware router VS linux router?
> Have you had experience to compare real router eg: cisco VS linux router?
> eg: streaming speed... tcp / udp
> Thank you for your information
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