Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Your Next Network Operating System Is Linux

timothy posted 1 year,3 days | from the it-even-runs-on-computers dept.

Networking 192

jrepin writes "Everywhere you look, change is afoot in computer networking. As data centers grow in size and complexity, traditional tools are proving too slow or too cumbersome to handle that expansion. Dinesh Dutt is Chief Scientist at Cumulus Networks. Cumulus has been working to change the way we think about networks altogether by dispensing with the usual software/hardware lockstep, and instead using Linux as the operating system on network hardware. In this week's New Tech Forum, Dinesh details the reasons and the means by which we may see Linux take over yet another aspect of computing: the network itself."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

2013 Year of the Linux Network (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184391)

If you can't make your goal just change the goal posts.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184539)

I do this every December 31st. It keeps me happy.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (5, Funny)

robthebloke (1308483) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184653)

But all I want to know is, will sudo rm -rf / delete the internet?

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (1)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184779)

But all I want to know is, will sudo rm -rf / delete the internet?

No but sudo rm -rf \ will!

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184791)

But all I want to know is, will sudo rm -rf / delete the internet?

No but sudo rm -rf \ will!

\ is the escape sequence. / is the root directory. The GP had it right. rm -rf / will delete the internet.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184883)

But all I want to know is, will sudo rm -rf / delete the internet?

No but sudo rm -rf \ will!

\ is the escape sequence. / is the root directory. The GP had it right. rm -rf / will delete the internet.

Have to try wget *

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (4, Informative)

swilly (24960) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185181)

sudo rm -rf / won't delete anything.

POSIX rules state that you cannot remove any parent of the current directory. The GNU rm command doesn't fully check this, but it does make sure that you don't remove / or .. (but if you give the path to any other parent directory, it will let you remove that). Try it for yourself and see (in a VM of course).

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185463)

Haha, sudo ...training wheels.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185911)

amen

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184959)

But all I want to know is, will sudo rm -rf / delete the internet?

No but sudo rm -rf \ will!

This is why you should shut the fuck up when you don't know what you're talking about.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185541)

No, in fact sudo rm -rf /. will make it far more productive and interesting.

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184765)

If you can't make your goal just change the goal posts.

Or make enough slashdot stories about it, it becomes true?

Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185791)

2013 - Year of Linux on everything BUT the desktop.

(That's not a joke - it's coming true)

Doesn't matter (5, Interesting)

Drewdad (1738014) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184401)

Network and SAN will go (are already going) virtual the same way hardware has.

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184475)

Hey, why don't we move all of those cables and monitors and keyboards and mice into "the cloud" too. I saw some marketing presentation which says everything can go into the cloud. I'm not sure why anyone buys computers or even pays for electricity any more... just put it all in the cloud!

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184603)

I think you are my boss. Is your name Bob, by any chance?

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185453)

Yes. I'm also a bobcat...stay away from the fridge, and bring your keycard to my office.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185601)

Microsoft Bob?

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184629)

fd

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184679)

can i put my girlfirend in the cloud too?

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184809)

Yeah, that's it! My girlfriend is real, she's just in the cloud and the servers are busy.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184821)

can i put my girlfirend in the cloud too?

I promised my wife I'd store her securely, no cloud for sure!
I make a habit of regularly probing her for backdoors just to be safe.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185107)

when having sex, watch out for a man in the middle attack

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185213)

when having sex, watch out for a man in the middle attack

Too little, too late.
Just verified the host name, a raspy voice said "Bill".

Re:Doesn't matter (4, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185979)

Electricity has always been in the cloud.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184503)

Yeah that would save a fortune in having to build, power and cool all the datacentres.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

nurb432 (527695) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184667)

They have been for a while now, if you wanted to pony up the cash and live on the bleeding edge But regardless of that, there is still an OS of some sort pushing those bits around, be it on virtual hardware or real.

Re:Doesn't matter (2)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185147)

There hasn't been "an OS of some sort pushing those bits around" for quite a while. OS's handle the control plane. The forwarding plane has been microcoded hardware for a decade or more, depending on how you define/count it.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185957)

Cisco Nexus 1000

And this is news why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184403)

Did "Dinesh" just crawl out from under a rock?

Re:And this is news why? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185939)

Yeah, Linux is my Network Operating System since 1997. No kidding.

Already happening - slowly (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184415)

Linux is already widely used on networking gear, especially fully pre-emptive variants like RT-Linux and Monta-Vista.

It will still take considerable time to displace some of the real performance/uptime critical stuff that's done using VxWorks and QNX and a number of other proprietary systems. Many companies are sort of vendor locked and have non-portable software too and so can't change easily. There are also engineers out there who strongly believe that what the currently use is superior for things like uptime (QNX), and simplistic hard real time response (VxWorks). I'm not saying that's the case either way - I'm simply saying there are numerous industry players who won't adopt Linux for some time because they think it's too big and not good enough.

Re:Already happening - slowly (4, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185043)

Xenomai is already a threat to VxWorks as it supports the VxWorks API as well as its Native API, POSIX, uITRON and a few other RTOS API's. The current version is a dual kernel system with the Xenomai kernel running at priority but the next version will integrate with PREEMPT_RT which will expose its supported API's to PREEMPT_RT so you can run either kind of system.

Re:Already happening - slowly (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185247)

That's because Linux as a whole operating system doesn't exist. Linux is just a kernel, and one that is requires optimization by excluding parts that the system will not have and will not use. But it's not as compact and efficient as VxWorks or QNX, and not as stable as FreeBSD (Hell between all the gear I have access to , the FreeBSD systems have 2 years of uptime, where as most of the Linux systems have less than 90 days because "system" and "data center" administrators reboot the physical hardware when there is a problem instead of actual troubleshooting. One of my newest clients I keep having to tell him "DO NOT REBOOT THE LINUX SERVERS, YOU ARE GENERATING MORE DOWNTIME BY DOING SO!"

Sometimes I really hate linux's way of load control, or rather the lack of it. Processes run away on FreeBSD? FreeBSD kills the process, lets the system keep working. Linux, lets the process consume all the resources and kill the system into a unresponsive mess. The reason it's still yet to be adopted by more than 10 people for the desktop is because there is no standard windowing environment better than Windows. You're far better off ditching the windowing environment and running everything from the command line that doesn't rely on KDE, Gnome, or whatever else. That's where Linux can shine... when nVidia, AMD and Intel play ball with the graphics drivers.

Re:Already happening - slowly (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185755)

Sounds like you don't know how to administer Linux correctly, or use its resource control system (which is much more comprehensive than FreeBSD).

Re:Already happening - slowly (1)

nemesisrocks (1464705) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185329)

Linux is already widely used on networking gear, especially fully pre-emptive variants like RT-Linux and Monta-Vista.

And if we follow the trend, pretty soon we'll be running Windows on those routers!

Don't laugh too hard, we already have Windows for Workgroups to replace Netware, Windows Web Server [microsoft.com] to replace Apache/Linux, and even Windows for Warships [slashdot.org] to replace, uh, sanity... Windows for Routers [wikipedia.org] isn't too steep a slope.

Re:Already happening - slowly (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185445)

Except windows has been actually removing some network functionality as time goes by. For example, Windows Server 2008 R2 removed support for OSPF, ISIS was removed sometime before that, and I'm fairly certain that 2012 only supports RIP.

Re:Already happening - slowly (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185965)

Well, Windows might be able to keep up with RIP.

Re:Already happening - slowly (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185473)

...because they think it's too big and not good enough

Maybe they think Linus is a jerk who treats linux like his personal playground. Wouldn't want 50,000 units depending on that.

Re:Already happening - slowly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185947)

High end networking gear (read datacenter switches) don't care about hard real time (or even soft real time). That's because it would be insane to switch packets in software. Yes, Linux or a BSD variant is already used in a lot of network operating systems - most of the modern network operating systems are in fact built on top of Linux (Arista EOS, Cisco NX-OS, Cisco IOS-XE for e.g.) or BSD (Juniper JunOS). The key difference is the degree to which the underlying operating system gets exposed to end users. There is also a great deal of variance in how the OS gets implemented on top of Linux - a big binary Blob (Cisco IOS-XE) or true multi-process OSs which take advantage of the underlying Linux kernel (Arista EOS and to some extent Cisco NX-OS). Either way, typically what you get is a "walled garden" CLI or Web GUI interface, so that you don't get exposed to the underlying Linux OS (for e.g. Cisco NX-OS) but there are operating systems already out there which are NOT "walled gardens" (for e.g. Arista EOS).

What Dinesh talks is an Network Operating System that's truly open i.e. without the above "walled garden", not necessarily open as in Open Source. The networking protocols that run on the device may or may not be open source (Cumulus OS is currently not Open Source AFAICT, though they may have plans to do that in future for all I know). What's "open" here is that, you really build on top of Linux (i.e use the Linux networking stack), do your network operating configuration (configuring a protocol, adding a static route etc) not via a vendor CLI interface but instead a sysadmin friendly Linux command line or conf files. It's not clear from the article whether Cumulus uses conf files or provides additional command line tools for configuration. But the point is you can run your usual ps, top, strace Linux tools or look at routes via "ip route" command etc.

It's not like Cumulus is the first company to have thought of this. Arista EOS already does this; it's basically Fedora Linux with a familiar (from a Network Engineer perspective) vendor CLI interface but you can drop down to bash at any time. Internally EOS takes advantage of the underlying Linux infra as far as possible (network namespaces for VRF for example).

Disclosure: I currently work for Arista Networks but have worked on Cisco Network Operating systems in an earlier life.

Re:Already happening - slowly (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185985)

Why not?

The internet is just a series of pipes, just like UNIX...

Can't say I'm surprised (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184417)

It's hard to beat free.Wish the article had touched on "traditional tools" a little more. They didn't really go into specifics. I've got some experience there, but it would have been nice to see their take on it.

Not news (3, Informative)

ihtoit (3393327) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184459)

The Chinese have been using Busybox for years. I still have two routers that use Busybox - the Swiss Army Knife of embedded Linux.

linky [busybox.net] .

Busybox != linux or an OS (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185803)

Busybox is just a binary that's used for userland applications. It will run on at least *bsd next to linux kernels.

Bah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184495)

Look, linux is pretty useful and everything, like how dropping openwrt on a home router adds value that commercial outfits will charge through the nose for, and how dropping some choice out of the bewilderingly many distributions on a peecee might extend the hardware's useful life and enable easy access to lots and lots of software for little money, but in terms of architecture it's a little outdated, and there are more robust choices from the same mold available. In short, there are many, many, many ways to pack up this turd and give it a nice shine, and some are very well polished at that, but underneath it's the same big steaming heap everywhere. It's getting to the point where it's succeeding in becoming its fanbois worst enemy's mirror image: Ubiquitous, inescapable, and actually dragging us all down because of that. Including hysterical over-the-top marketing from both.

We need more, better choices, not yet another rehash of this same thing. This isn't innovation. This is stagnation. Useful, nicely low cost, but stagnation for all that. So while it looks to be good news, it actually isn't. It's an illustration of how the computing world has become self-indulgent hobbyism that needs a right kick in the arse to get back on track with the improving and the innovation already.

Re:Bah (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184919)

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...it's succeeding in becoming its fanbois worst enemy's mirror image: Ubiquitous, inescapable, and actually dragging us all down because of that. Including hysterical over-the-top marketing from both.

We need more, better choices, not yet another rehash of this same thing. This isn't innovation. This is stagnation. Useful, nicely low cost, but stagnation for all that.

I don't think that is true. Like the joke about the duck (all quiet up top, but paddling like heck underneath), Linux is continually evolving. Sometimes big steps and big improvements and sometimes small steps. Sometimes even steps that back up and take another direction. That's a feature, BTW. The Linux ecosystem has shown over and over that nothing is sacred. If there is a better way to do things then somebody somewhere is going to try it with Linux.

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185491)

even iptables..

Juniper uses FreeBSD (3, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184499)

Juniper uses FreeBSD as its OS? NetApp uses FreeBSD (or at least a heavily customized version of it.)

Not everyone has gone with Linux but I suppose the majority have. Still, as long as its Unix embedded and not something crazy like Windows...

Re:Juniper uses FreeBSD (4, Interesting)

jhealy1024 (234388) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184683)

On Juniper, you can even get shell access by default (log in as root). The "command line" interface is just a program that runs on the shell.

Not only that, but Juniper's configuration is not as "modal" as the article makes everything out to be. JUNOS has built-in scripting to make modifications to the config, along with templating/macros to take the drudgery out of repeated configs. The config is hierarchical (XML on the backend), which makes it well-structured and predictable. Overall, it's a pleasure to work with (once you get used to it), and much better than some more popular/expensive networking gear I could name. Oh, and they number their interfaces starting with zero, like you should. ;-)

Sure, it's not as open as a bash shell that you can muck with to your heart's content, but at the same time, having a standardized toolset means that it can be reasonably supported. Can you imagine calling up level 1 support and asking them to help you with a system that you had fully customized with local scripts, cron jobs, and the like?

Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (3, Informative)

grahamsaa (1287732) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184541)

As much as I would like to see Linux / BSD being used to power network devices (and I admit that it's already happening), it's going to be a long time before most enterprises ditch their Cisco gear for equipment that runs an open source OS. Many large enterprises have already made significant investments in hardware and personnel. Even if a vendor were to come along with an excellent product at a great price point it would probably be at least 5-10 years before most enterprises move away from their Cisco switches, routers and other appliances. Don't get me wrong -- I'd like to see Cisco's dominance challenged, and to see a Linux / BSD based CLI used to configure network equipment instead of IOS -- but it seems unlikely in the near future.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184561)

Cisco is already there...

The heart of most of the "new" os's that Cisco is using is a modified linux kernel... I.E. NX-OS, IOS-XE, IOS-XR, CGR... Almost all the security platforms, ASA, ISE... etc...

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184643)

As much as I would like to see Linux / BSD being used to power network devices (and I admit that it's already happening), it's going to be a long time before most enterprises ditch their Cisco gear for equipment that runs an open source OS. Many large enterprises have already made significant investments in hardware and personnel. Even if a vendor were to come along with an excellent product at a great price point it would probably be at least 5-10 years before most enterprises move away from their Cisco switches, routers and other appliances.

Don't get me wrong -- I'd like to see Cisco's dominance challenged, and to see a Linux / BSD based CLI used to configure network equipment instead of IOS -- but it seems unlikely in the near future.

Cisco's NX-OS (MDS and Nexus) product lines is already based on Linux with the familiar IOS interface on top of it.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (1)

grahamsaa (1287732) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184747)

Familiar or not, IOS ps pretty cludgy and difficult to navigate, and lacks a lot of basic tools that are available at a bash shell. For example, why can't I pipe muptiple 'include' statements together yet? I've been able to pipe multiple grep statements together since, well, since I started using Linux at least 13-14 years ago.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185011)

Because the codebase that IOS is built on will *NEVER* support pipe. NXOS has had pipe from the beginning.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (1)

smash (1351) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185977)

Because its a router/switch, not a shell server.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184709)

Vyatta is an option. It is based on Linux and is CLI. It is still not there yet to challenge Cisco in a hard way.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (2)

Introspective (71476) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184787)

Cisco is already ahead of you there.
Cisco's NX-OS is based on Linux, but with a IOS-like CLI on top of that.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184991)

I have worked for and with Cisco for over 6 years, their use of Linux is growing rapidly and there is now a preference for Linux over iOS internally. Also Cisco sales are already trailing behind H3C... so I guess your entire post is speculation. lazy and typical for /. I am not claiming Linux is an excellent NOS, not from a technical perspective, but from a business perspective its a good choice right now.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185077)

Juniper Networks network operating system, JunOS, is based on FreeBSD but proprietary.

Re:Cisco isn't going anywhere, yet (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185605)

As much as I dislike them, Juniper switches (which run FreeBSD, iirc) seem to be pretty damn common these days.

Enterprises won't move from Cisco for quite some time due to the institutional knowledge requirement: they've got a lot of equipment which requires people to maintain.

In a recession or depression like we're in, things like network infrastructure changing is uncommon. The big companies don't change things because change is risky and expensive (unless change is their business, such as in IT). Upheaval, mergers, etc. - those changes can cause potential IT infrastructure changes, yes, but it's not likely right now.

When the moon shines black. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184549)

A network is only as good as the people who implement and maintain it.

Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (4, Interesting)

tedgyz (515156) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184613)

Sadly, Apollo Computer had this concept 20+ years ago. The Apollo Domain Operating System was built from the ground up as a network operating system. Everything from the kernel up was designed with networking in mind. It was a brilliant yet ultimately dead operating system. The biggest downfall was being expensive and proprietary. Sun Microsystems won through a cheaper alternative and doomed us forever with NFS.

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (1)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184911)

I remember contacting that company about their system, and specifically asked about open source. I talked to some guy who was the sales manager for my area, and he seemed to get angry that I was asking for open source. I think that company was doomed by bad management.

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (4, Interesting)

rwyoder (759998) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185041)

Sadly, Apollo Computer had this concept 20+ years ago. The Apollo Domain Operating System was built from the ground up as a network operating system. Everything from the kernel up was designed with networking in mind. It was a brilliant yet ultimately dead operating system. The biggest downfall was being expensive and proprietary. Sun Microsystems won through a cheaper alternative and doomed us forever with NFS.

I had the misery of working with Apollos at one employer.
There were two major issues in my opinion:

1. Security: There wasn't any. If you logged into just *one* host, you could change ANYTHING on ANY OTHER HOST.
        Imagine NFS-exporting "/" read/write to the world.

2. There was an environment variable that could be set to mimic either SYSV Unix, of BSD Unix.
        The reality was it didn't emulate either, making attempts to compile/run open-source sw an exercise in futility.

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185273)

We had time clock problems with our Apollo Domain systems, and there was no fix from Apollo - we had to avoid letting the year change. I can't remember if it was something like the Unix 2038 problem. Anyone remember that?

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (1, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185049)

You realize that NFS and iptables have almost nothing in common right? Oh wait, you DONT, else you wouldn't have written such a crap post.

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185225)

I remember taking out a 21" apollo monitor with some friends for a night of shooting. (We wanted some fun stuff to blow up). That freaking monster took a 9mm at 15 yards... took several other smaller/slower calibers too. The 357 finally pierced the glass. I think they were so expensive because they were made of transparent aluminium. (Originally designed to hold large volumes of water in space ships)

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (2)

LDAPMAN (930041) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185517)

There was another OS 20+ years ago that was designed from the ground up as a network OS...Netware!

Re:Apollo Computer - Domain Operating System (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185629)

"Sadly, Apollo Computer had this concept 20+ years ago."

        And Plan9 is older than that except its still around, open source, and working.

Network fabric != shell scripts (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184627)

As it stands now, a Linux iptables list is sequential. Packets go through the input/output/forward queues.

If one wants a true network OS, this needs to be changed to a config-based system similar to what Cisco/Alcatel-Lucent/Juniper use. With this, each adapter gets a configuration attached for starters, then things go from there (VLANs, ACLs, etc.)

If Linux could make the jump from sequential parsing to configs, it might just be something that can do the job, but then it moves to the hardware, and a lot of routers have specific ASICs dedicated to packet crunching as opposed to general CPUs.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184737)

Cisco uses linux on all new products, Juniper uses FreeBSD. Looks like we're already there, we just need some modifications specific for the use case...like a distribution!

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184775)

All those configs get compiled down to sequential operations eventually. Some vendors have added configuration layers above linux. I've got an all-linux network core at home (Netgear, OpenWRT, Mikrotik) with each flavor having its own layer on top of the kernel.

I must admit that my edge router/firewall is BSD, but with NFTables that might be up for a change.

Granted, these aren't yet available on big iron, but the universal truth in tech is that the low end always eats the high end, so that's a matter of time.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (1)

Bengie (1121981) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185059)

I wouldn't jump the gun too fast. FreeBSD just had a new network API added in 10 that doubles the packet throughput of legacy when using a wrapper and over 10x the throughput when using native. A single core ATOM cpu could handle full duplex routing of a 10gb interface while running in user mode, outside of the kernel.

The new interface will allow crazy low overhead for usermode programs to access the NICs.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185129)

A single core ATOM cpu could handle full duplex routing of a 10gb interface while running in user mode, outside of the kernel.

Whoa. </Neo>

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (1)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185287)

You realize the GP is BS, right? Sure, a 64b processor at 2.5 GHz could copy 10Gb of full duplex data between 2 ports using 50% CPU while doing nothing else. But add the overhead required for control plan, then consider that a 2 port router is pretty useless (not much more than a bridge), and there's no meat.

For a practical real world non-trivial router, you need 10s or 100s of ports. Now picture both control and forwarding planes which allows 10s or 100s of such CPUs to coordinate resources for both decision and port access, and you'll find CPU and/or OS is not the hard part.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184777)

As it stands now, a Linux iptables list is sequential. Packets go through the input/output/forward queues.

If one wants a true network OS, this needs to be changed to a config-based system similar to what Cisco/Alcatel-Lucent/Juniper use. With this, each adapter gets a configuration attached for starters, then things go from there (VLANs, ACLs, etc.)

So make it "config based". There is nothing stopping you for adding your own tables that only act on specific interfaces and not polluting the general table with anything else than just a big switch statement.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (2)

Skapare (16644) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184817)

Config-based does not mean sequential or non-sequential. It only means whatever is configured can be changed. What is needed to improve iptables and the like is optimizations like smart address lookup tables. This is actually doable in ways that have been around longer than patent periods but it is not iptables compatible.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (4, Informative)

CRC'99 (96526) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184915)

each adapter gets a configuration attached for starters, then things go from there (VLANs, ACLs, etc.)

iptables -N eth0-in
iptables -N eth0-out
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -j eth0-in
iptables -A FORWARD -o eth0 -j eth0-out

Then create all the rules you need in the specified chain.

The way to get the most performance out of iptables is to make each chain as small as possible. This can quite easily be split up into logical lists for what you actually do - ie:

iptables -N 10.1.1.1
iptables -N 10.1.1.2
iptables -N 10.1.1.3
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -d 10.1.1.1 -j 10.1.1.1
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -d 10.1.1.2 -j 10.1.1.2
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -d 10.1.1.3 -j 10.1.1.3

This way, you can easily branch out and skip a fuckton of rules that will never apply to the packet that is being processed. Usually, you can bring each chain to less than 6 rules. Less rules == less overhead == more performance.

Re:Network fabric != shell scripts (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185411)

As it stands now, a Linux iptables list is sequential. Packets go through the input/output/forward queues.

If one wants a true network OS, this needs to be changed to a config-based system similar to what Cisco/Alcatel-Lucent/Juniper use. With this, each adapter gets a configuration attached for starters, then things go from there (VLANs, ACLs, etc.)

If Linux could make the jump from sequential parsing to configs, it might just be something that can do the job, but then it moves to the hardware, and a lot of routers have specific ASICs dedicated to packet crunching as opposed to general CPUs.

nftables.

Who said to use the OS for packets? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185821)

Most current high available networking gear has an OS on a "general maintenance processor" that is used to handle the user interface. All the packet mangling is done in ASICs or on daughter boards running other OSes.

Also, IPtables isn't a shell script, it's a binary that is used to manipulate kernel network filters. Once the tables are set up, packets don't leave the kernel, unless you use the userland filter kernel module. I've only seen one commercial linux packet mangling setup that does this and it performs horrendously bad. It was a data counting and billing setup for mobile internet and it required an 8 core Xeon with 16G of ram per 100Mbit. Interestingly, it wasn't the amount of Mbits that went through, but the amount of IP sessions that were being set up per second that was the real bottleneck here. The whole thing checked with a central accounting processor to see if the user still had data rights left and got a lease for 64kbyte of data from the user's quota. Needless to say the setup was high on the list of things to phase out because it was mushrooming out of proportion at an alarming rate.

wutza matta? Desktop too tough for you? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184687)

Linux is a free hack that has good enough tools for most fly by night companies. Your super duper home router that you paid $60 too much for is a POS. Don't try and pull this crap in the real world.

this is so stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184731)

between bsd and linux all the network hardware is running mostly the same or similar code. juniper, cisco, citrix, etc. this article would have been more relevant in 2003.

Make every packet light (1, Interesting)

acscott (1885598) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184739)

TFA did not mention details. Linux has patent-inhibited memory management complications. The best networking OS will be able to handle 2^32 connections (or about 4.2 billion). No OS can come near this. Is Linux better than the alternatives? Never, as long as its memory footprint is inhibited by patents. A good networking OS will be scale-free. (for those graduate students looking for a thesis). Thus, the best networking OS is the most fault-tolerant with the best throughput, and the smartest engineers behind it. No OS is fault-tolerant. Throughput is a function of memory (all things being equal), and the smartest engineers are probably challenged to maintain a quality of life that is satisfactory. It's a great question of what the best NOS is. Keep it coming, but don't muddy up the waters with misinformation. If you do make a suggestion, provide real empirical support. (It's not my job to do this since I have not declared what the best NOS is. I do have my opinions though.)

Re:Make every packet light (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184955)

why 2^32 connections?

Re:Make every packet light (1)

postbigbang (761081) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184981)

Ummmm, no.

TFA may be pimping his own opinion but the SDN technologies are getting faster and smarter. Windows is embedding it, VMware is embedding it, and the fabrics that talk inter-site or enter-fabric are becoming increasingly well-defined and are OS agnostic, rather than OS-specific. Cisco and Juniper need to hold on to their hats as VM tenant fabrics start to become largely autonomous of traditional network fabrics made up of Stuff, Our Esteemed and Expensive Yet Versatile Network Gear, and whatever all that Stuff is connected to.

There are well-known communications constructs, like puppet, chef, et al that he mentioned that are great tool sets. Equally well-known are "service bus" pipelines for Microsoft, and several API sets that VMware uses, along with still more from Xen/CitrixXenserver and even (dare I say it?) Oracle. These days its a battle between traditional network core turfs and those behind cloudish/zone-ish/tenant turfs that want to be autonomous and control their own network space without having to talk to a network engineer to get equipment logically moved from point A to B or G-through-R.

It's DISinformation to believe that captive hardware devices need run Linux, BSD, or an RTOS; all are good and all have their places. To finish TFA, I almost needed a snorkel.

Patent-inhibited memory management complications? (3, Interesting)

codeusirae (3036835) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184985)

"Linux has patent-inhibited memory management complications .. Is Linux better than the alternatives? Never, as long as its memory footprint is inhibited by patents"

What specific patents are you referring to here, please provide links to the citations ..

Stating the obvious (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | 1 year,3 days | (#45184805)

I think many slashdot'rs will read this as "Your next network will use electricity." I am pretty sure most people around here have networks that are close to 100% Linux. Maybe the occasional switch or whatnot is running something proprietary.

No, no it isn't. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45184949)

Linux on a core switch is like Windows running on a phone - it'll work, but it's clearly not the right tool for the job. I see a lot of small to medium routers running BSD, and that's a good fit, but just look at a Catalyst 6500 supervisor card or switch card and imagine Linux running on that... there's so much custom hardware designed solely for handling packets that a general-purpose OS / kernel like Linux simply cannot handle it.

Oh, and Cisco-style config files are great, thanks. We've all been using an IOS or IOS-alike interface for a few decades now, and it's stuck around, much like bash, and C, because it does what it does very well, and nothing better has yet been found. Iptables is a mess by comparison, and I will not mourn its passing.

One of the more blatant slashvertisements (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185035)

Buzzwordy market-speak summary pointing to the personal blog of an unknown company?

Thanks, Timothy.

My last Network Operating System was Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185155)

Cisco NX-OS is based on MontaVista Software embedded Linux.

Cisco Nexus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185163)

Cisco's Nexus line running NX-OS uses some type of Linux.

NOS? Don't make me laugh (1)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185191)

Back in the day, a network operating system was something that could run a file, print, and sometimes database services. Nowadays when the firmware of printers and NAS devices provide those services, I question the use of the term NOS at all.

Sure you can use different firmware bases for network hardware, but it's not like you can arbitrarily install whatever you want on such devices.

TFA is a sales pitch for something that's already (1)

mooboy (191903) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185261)

happened. NXOS is the Cisco datacenter OS that is *already* based on a Linux kernel. Geez, Cisco's ASA appliances made the move from iOS to Linux years ago. Your next network operating system = your existing network operating system. Wake up/Redundancy/Get a life/I pity you because you've wasted everyone's time.

This is the year (1)

ignavus (213578) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185279)

So this is the year of the Linux "everything except the desktop": phones, tablets, networks, servers, entertainment units, cars, everything with Android, etc... even your Chromebook. But not your desktop.

Yet.

too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185419)

too late..
nexus, asa, asr etc.
Everything runs linux or bsd..
juniper, netscaler etc.

TC;DR (1)

kale77in (703316) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185523)

Too commercial. Add news or something that matters?

If things go smoothly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185559)

It will also be my primary OS when Windows 7 dies out. Especially if Valve can make Linux gaming viable. Other than games, most softwares I daily use have a linux version or easily found linux alternatives... Dual boot is not an option for me, I don't want to have to reboot every time I want to play a game and then reboot again when I'm done. I don't understand why people would do that to themselves, seems like a waste of time and at one point I would just not bother switching back and forth and only stay on one OS. And let's face it... Wine is good... but it's not good enough.

Sorry, but no: BSD will dominate this domain. (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185583)

Sorry, I can't find anything of substance in this (worthless, InfoWorld) article. There's a handful of reasons why "Linux will be the next network OS" isn't holding any water:

* First and foremost, it's the license. No hardware vendor out there wants to be stuck supporting software in the way that a GPL'd product often requires. They want to control the platform, and they can't do that if it's truly open.
* Second, Linux has had iptables (and the menagerie of other tools) to make it a 'network OS' for years and years. It hasn't helped it gain much traction except in the SMB/home router market demographic.
* Third, Linux is lacking some of the important things that are necessary for network equipment these days - or at least, not as elegantly as other "free" options.
* There are many vendors which offer network equipment which does NOT run on Linux: Juniper, NET10, and pfSense based products all come to mind (and I've personally seen pfSense successfully blow Cisco solutions out of the water in price, redundancy, and performance with a markedly more capable configuration).
* Oh yeah, and nothing he says in the article is in any way exclusive to Linux; it can just as easily be applied to eg. FreeBSD or OpenBSD.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a dyed in the wool Linux fiend... but Linux doesn't really shine in this department.

Re:Sorry, but no: BSD will dominate this domain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#45185713)

* First and foremost, it's the license. No hardware vendor out there wants to be stuck supporting software in the way that a GPL'd product often requires. They want to control the platform, and they can't do that if it's truly open.

This puzzles me, as the GPL makes no requirement to support as far as I know. It's also funny to see people complain about Linux' GPL, when samba is widely used by hardware vendors and is GPLv3.

Linux, not likely... (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | 1 year,3 days | (#45185807)

Customized UNIX kernels are being used today (mostly BSD) by a variety of vendors. These are heavily modified to support hardware (ASICS, etc.) based switching and routing. On top of that the OS needs to handle packet caching (for QoS), access lists and security features, encryption (VPN tunneling), etc. Most of which are handled in highly customized proprietary bits of hardware that can reliably handle a tonne of traffic flows. In my opinion, network hardware vendors will never hamstring their competitive edge by agreeing to standardized APIs and hardware calls.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?