Open source hardware

Ray Soucy rps at
Fri Jan 3 12:48:24 UTC 2014

You actually buy brand-name SFP's? That's like buying the gold-plated HDMI
Monster Cable at Best Buy at markup ...

I just find the the companies that the vendors contract to make their OEM
SFP's and buy direct.  Same SFP from the same factory except one has a
Cisco sticker. ;-)

You can even get them with the correct vendor code, been doing this for
years and there is no difference in failure rate or quality and we go
through hundreds of SFPs.

It is nice to have a solution provider if you're only looking at one unit,
but if you're deploying a large amount then building and testing your own
configuration really isn't that hard and will save you a lot of money.  You
can even contract an OEM appliance vendor to take care of the actual build
for you and they'll usually provide 3-year replacement on the hardware.
(I've found "Sourcecode" to be the best price-wise for smaller projects).
As a bonus they'll slap whatever branding you want on the thing for that
professional touch.

Vyatta and now VyOS are important projects for networking.  We really need
to get away from locked down non-free hardware and software for critical

It's natural that most of the people in this community (myself included)
will be fans of companies like Cisco and Juniper and dismiss anything else,
but that mindset for me change when I deployed 100+ whitebox units 3 years
ago and saved nearly a million in the process.

Juniper is a FreeBSD shop, and Cisco's new OS lines are based on Linux.
 Ciena is largely based on Linux as well.  In poking around at these
platforms recently one of the big things I'm noticing is that there is a
lot less done in hardware than we traditionally saw, especially from Cisco.

Having your networking in silicon is great when you have a 100 MHz CPU;
Cisco even conditioned us to be terrified of anything being punted to CPU
by under-sizing and over-pricing their CPUs for years.  But when you have a
modern server-grade platform, multi-Gigabit performance, even with
significant levels of packet processing and small packet sizes, is a joke.
 So at least for the low end of the spectrum there is a huge savings for
equal (often better) performance.

As I mentioned before I haven't done much with 10-Gigabit, but I imagine
with Intel-based cards on a modern PCIe bus that you can at least get
entry-level performance.  Sometimes the biggest push for 10G is avoiding a
2G or 4G port-channel.

With the new Intel DPDK stuff, Intel is claiming 80M PPS performance on a
standard Xeon platform:

Eventually, DPDK support will likely start being included in projects like
VyOS, perhaps in Linux in general.

As for VyOS, the project is starting to get some momentum and is run by
former Vyatta employees and even some people from UBNT.  I think we'll see
some good stuff from them in the future.  The 1.0 release is solid from
what I've seen (and even fixes some bugs Vyatta hasn't yet).

On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 12:01 AM, Jimmy Hess <mysidia at> wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 8:53 PM, Andrew Duey <
> andrew.duey at> wrote:
> > I'm surprised nobody's mentioned or the new fork of VyOs.  We
> > are currently using the vyatta community edition and so far it's been
> good
> > to to us.  It depends on your hardware and how small of an ISP you are
> but
> > it might be a great open source fit for you.
> The orig. author has potentially set course for a world of hurt --  if the
> plan is to scrap robust packaged highly-validated gear having separate
> hardware forwarding planes and ASIC-driven filtering,  to stick cheap x86
> servers in the SP core and internet borders.
> Sure... anyone can install Vyatta on a x86 server,   but  assembly of all
> the pieces and full validation for a resilient platform comparable to
> carrier grade gear, for a mission critical network,  should be a bit more
> involved than that.
> Next up....   how to build your own  10-Gigabit  SFPs to avoid paying for
> expensive brand-name SFPs,  by putting together some chips,  wires,  fiber,
> and tying it all together with a piece of duck tape....
> just saying... :)
> > --Andrew Duey
> >
> --
> -JH

Ray Patrick Soucy
Network Engineer
University of Maine System

T: 207-561-3526
F: 207-561-3531

MaineREN, Maine's Research and Education Network

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