scaling linux-based router hardware recommendations

Mike Hammett nanog at
Tue Jan 27 02:01:05 UTC 2015

Must not have read my whole e-mail. ;-) 

There aren't very many people outside of my group that know more about Mikrotik. Trainers, MUM presenters, direct-line-to-Janis guys, etc. 

Still can't make those Latvians produce what we want. 

Mike Hammett 
Intelligent Computing Solutions 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Tony Wicks" <tony at> 
To: "Mike Hammett" <nanog at>, nanog at 
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 7:57:44 PM 
Subject: RE: scaling linux-based router hardware recommendations 

And the solution to this issue is - or on x86 hardware, plus any basic layer2 switch. Don't scoff until you have tried it, the price/performance is pretty staggering if you are in the sub 20gig space. 

-----Original Message----- 
From: NANOG [mailto:nanog-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mike Hammett 
Sent: Tuesday, 27 January 2015 2:44 p.m. 
To: nanog at 
Subject: Re: scaling linux-based router hardware recommendations 

Aren't most of the new whitebox\open source platforms based on switching and not routing? I'd assume that the "cloud-scale" data centers deploying this stuff still have more traditional big iron at their cores. 

The small\medium sized ISP usually is left behind. They're not big enough to afford the big new hardware, but all of their user's NetFlix and porn and whatever else they do is chewing up bandwidth. For example, the small\medium ISPs are at the Nx10GigE stage now. The new hardware is expensive, the old hardware (besides being old) is likely in a huge chassis if you can get any sort of port density at all. 

48 port GigE switches with a couple 10GigE can be had for $100. A minimum of 24 port 10GigE switches (except for the occasional IBM switch ) is 30x to 40x times that. Routers (BGP, MPLS, etc.) with that more than just a couple 10GigEs are even more money, I'd assume. 

I thought vMX was going to save the day, but it's pricing for 10 gigs of traffic (licensed by throughput and standard\advanced licenses) is really about 5x - 10x what I'd be willing to pay for it. 

Haven't gotten a quote from AlcaLu yet. 

Vyatta (last I checked, which was admittedly some time ago) doesn't have MPLS. 

The FreeBSD world can bring zero software cost and a stable platform, but no MPLS. 

Mikrotik brings most (though not all) of the features one would want... a good enough feature set, let's say... but is a non-stop flow of bugs. I don't think a week or two goes by where one of my friends doesn't submit some sort of reproducible bug to Mikrotik. They've also been "looking into" DPDK for 2.5 years now. hasn't shown up yet. I've used MT for 10 years and I'm always left wanting just a little more, but it may be the best balance between the features and performance I want and the ability to pay for it. 

Mike Hammett 
Intelligent Computing Solutions 

----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Mehmet Akcin" <mehmet at> 
To: "micah anderson" <micah at> 
Cc: nanog at 
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 6:06:53 PM 
Subject: Re: scaling linux-based router hardware recommendations 

Cumulus Networks has some stuff, 

Pretty decent presentation with more details you like. 


> On Jan 26, 2015, at 8:53 PM, micah anderson <micah at> wrote: 
> Hi, 
> I know that specially programmed ASICs on dedicated hardware like 
> Cisco, Juniper, etc. are going to always outperform a general purpose 
> server running gnu/linux, *bsd... but I find the idea of trying to use 
> proprietary, NSA-backdoored devices difficult to accept, especially 
> when I don't have the budget for it. 
> I've noticed that even with a relatively modern system (supermicro 
> with a 4 core 1265LV2 CPU, with a 9MB cache, Intel E1G44HTBLK Server 
> adapters, and 16gig of ram, you still tend to get high percentage of 
> time working on softirqs on all the CPUs when pps reaches somewhere 
> around 60-70k, and the traffic approaching 600-900mbit/sec (during a 
> DDoS, such hardware cannot typically cope). 
> It seems like finding hardware more optimized for very high packet per 
> second counts would be a good thing to do. I just have no idea what is 
> out there that could meet these goals. I'm unsure if faster CPUs, or 
> more CPUs is really the problem, or networking cards, or just plain 
> old fashioned tuning. 
> Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome! 
> micah 

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