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Free x86 router distro gains faster routing, Linux-like shell

Feb 29, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

[Updated 12:10] — Vyatta is alpha-testing a major new release of its X86-Linux router distribution for enterprise and Tier-2 network operators. Vyatta Community 4 (VC4) boasts new open source routing protocol implementations, a more Linux-like command-line user interface, and support from a new open source community website.

Vyatta is based on Debian Linux, along with open source implementations of various high-end routing protocols like BGP, RIP, and OSPF. Specific implementations may change from time to time in order to achieve the best scalability and performance, company spokesperson Dave Roberts suggested.

Roberts compared the change of open source routing implementations in VC4 to “Red Hat switching out the Xfree server for a couple years ago.” The change is “largely transparent” for existing users, he said, and basically “an implementation detail.” He commented, “As a customer, you shouldn't really care, as long as things got better in terms of features, performance, or scalability.”

Along with the new routing implementation comes a new user interface. The web interface, for the time being, is not being supported in VC4. And there's a new “FusionCLI” shell said to be based on bash. The shell still supports similar syntax as previous VC releases, and similar interactive configuration modes, while providing access to Linux shell commands and a new level of comfort for Linux users accustomed to such luxuries as tab command completion.

Other touted new features include:

  • New Quagga routing implementation
  • New routing policies, including support for access lists, community lists, AS path lists, prefix lists, and route maps
  • Role-based user access (root, admin, operators, users)
  • DHCP client
  • New “black-hole” bit-bucket for static routes
  • Equal-cost multi-path routing (ECMP)
  • VPN server
  • Tunnel interfaces
  • PPPoE support
  • WAN load balancing
  • Fair queuing and traffic shaping QoS improvements
  • Ability to clear interface statistics

Vyatta is a venture-funded startup led by former MontaVista VP Kelly Herrell. Its flagship product is a commercially supported Linux distribution optimized for use as a combined router, firewall, and VPN (virtual private networking) server. It can be purchased as software, or pre-installed on commodity x86 server appliance hardware. The idea is that by using proprietary x86 hardware, rather than expensive, single-vendor hardware designs from Cisco or Juniper, Tier 2 Internet service providers and enterprises with large networks can save money and gain flexibility.

Vyatta moved its distro to Debian in a VC2 release about a year ago, and last fall shipped a VC3 release that added PSec VPN, multilink PPP, and BGP scaling.

VC4 Alpha 2 is available now. As with previous releases, it appears to support running as a live CD, with configuration details stored on a floppy or USB key. Or, it can be installed to a hard drive or flash drive. Further details, including downloads, documentation, new discussion forums, and other community resources can be found on the new Vyatta community site, here.

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