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Open source x86 router distro gains GUI

Mar 10, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 306 views

In a new release, Vyatta has added a web browser GUI to the community-supported version of its Linux router distribution for x86. Vyatta Community Edition 5 (VC5) also improves virtual private networking, thanks to OpenVPN, which works better in environments with NAT (network address translation).

VC5 is the open source licensed version of Vyatta's scalable, Debian-based router distribution for “tier 2” network providers and enterprises. VC5 can run as a live CD, USB key, or from inside a VMWare or Xen virtual machine. It can also be installed to flash or hard drive storage in x86 network appliances, creating DIY routers, firewalls, and VPN servers. The company touts the commodity nature of x86 systems as a cost-saver, compared to the expensive proprietary components (such as memory upgrades) offered for RISC-based network gear from big names like Cisco and Juniper.

When the Vyatta Community Edition was rev'd to VC4 last April, the distribution gained a more Linux-like command-line interface. Now, Vyatta has added a web GUI (graphical user interface), for further claimed usability gains. The GUI offers a “familiar” hierarchical configuration model, the company says, as well as extensive configuration and monitoring features.

VC5's new GUI
(Click any screenshot to enlarge)

Other touted new features in VC5 include:

  • OpenVPN — SSL-based software offering site-to-site and remote-access security, as well as a high degree of interoperability “even in the presence of NAT, which protocols like IPSec find challenging,” says Vyatta.
  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS) — Uses intrusion signatures and network-based detection mechanisms to detect intrusions, and drop packets associated with a detected attack.
  • Web caching and Ethernet bonding — Caching spares bandwidth, while bonding allows multiple Ethernet interfaces to be configured as a single virtual interface.
  • URL filtering — Acts as a web proxy server for URL filtering, determining whether a requested URL is in a category marked for blocking, and alerting the user accordingly.
  • Enhanced DNS for SME environments — DNS forwarding and dynamic DNS support
  • Improved Virtualization — Network interface and mass storage drivers “optimized” for VMware and Xen virtual machines
  • New Hardware Support — Supports RFC 1483 Bridged Ethernet over ADSL, synchronous serial cards, wireless modems (3G), and RAID-1.

Stated Jerry Keene, senior systems analyst at SCS Engineers, “We believe Vyatta products will give us the benefits of open source, open standards while giving us advanced routing, firewalling, and VPN technologies. We particularly like Vyatta's new SSL-based OpenVPN technology.”

Vyatta also offers its commercial distribution pre-installed on x86 network appliances.

Vyatta 514 (left) and Vyata 2500 right


Vyatta Community Edition 5 is available now, for free download, at the Vyatta site. Commercial versions of Vyatta software are also available, starting at $747.

Vyatta's community site may be found here.

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