Monday, 4 August 2008

Vyatta changes the networking game

Original Article

Got a spare server sitting around?

Nothing fancy — 512 Megs of RAM and a 1.8 GHz processor will work fine.

Now, want to turn that into a networking box? The equivalent of a Cisco or Juniper router with 1 Gbps capacity?

That’s the promise of the Vyatta 2501, shipping today at LinuxWorld. It’s almost beside the point to mention it’s all open source.

I chatted about all this last week with vice president of strategy Dave Roberts, the company’s vice president of strategy.

“The product is fundamentally the software that can be packaged, either in our own hardware or a customer’s own hardware,” he said.

In other words if you want something that looks like an expensive Cisco or Juniper box, Vyatta will sell you one. Or you can find a spare server in the closet and download it.

“A gigabit Ethernet card for a Cisco router costs $5,000. A gagabit Ethernet card for Vyatta costs $50 and you can buy it at Fry’s. Or call the Geek Squad. That’s a huge difference in the economics.

“They both perform the same way. In some ways the open solutions perform better. The same or better performance for one-quarter the cost.”

This has enormous implications for the corporate networking space, but perhaps even bigger implications in public networking, where telcos insist they can’t keep up with demand.

“We have many customers who are Tier II and Tier III hosting providers,” ISPs that need big connections to the Internet. Vyatta also lets you aggregate local traffic on ordinary servers, great if you can get control of some local customers.

So who is calling, I asked. Everyone, Roberts said. But especially companies that want to build their own server clouds.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from people with cloud environments. They can use it in ways they can’t use a physical unit.”

How so? “Vyatta is software. It all becomes about things like virtualization and the ability to reconfigure, to reprovision. The fact you’ve got network infrastructure that’s fungible is really interesting to folks who build out large scale.”

As much as people may rail about Microsoft, it’s the telcos and their high-priced suppliers who are the real bottleneck in terms of improved computing.

Vyatta has just blown them out of the water.

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