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Vyatta Scaling Linux Up For Networks Big and Small

For the last two years Vyatta has been offering a Linux based alternative to proprietary routing technology. Today Vyatta is upping the ante with a new release, Vyatta Community Edition 4 (VC4). The new version scales up the Linux network operating system to 10GbE and adds new functionally that complements its scale upstream.

Vyatta isn't being shy about who the competition is, and is taking direct aim at networking industry Goliath Cisco for a piece of the multi-billion dollar routing market.

"We're breaking out from being router software to being an open network operation system where routing is just one of the features," Kelly Herrell, CEO of Vyatta, told InternetNews.com. "On one hand, we're scaling out in terms of the functionality with more security and more traffic management. It's also about scale up and scale down. With this release, we go all the way down to DSL and all the way up to 10GbE."

Herrell explained that Vyatta is introducing features in VC4 that will benefit both service providers and enterprise users alike. Vyatta has brought in a more advanced command line interface (CLI) called Fusion CLI. The new CLI enables users to handle all of their networking and Linux commands from one place, making both traditional network and Linux admins more comfortable with the interface.

"We have really enhanced routing scalability and performance," Herrell noted. "We are now very comfortable going up against the 7200 class of Cisco product which is an important product for the service provider arena."

Additionally Vyatta has improved role based access control and WAN load balancing. The balancing feature allows network administrators to load balance traffic across multiple broadband links at the same time which provides the benefit of increased network availability and performance.

As opposed to Cisco, which has its own branded hardware equipment, Vyatta for the most part relies on hardware partners including Dell and IBM, though Herrell indicated that Vyatta is being deployed on all types of hardware vendor platforms.

"We don't see a definitive brand on the hardware yet, actually we see the opposite, everything from HP to IBM to Dell," Herrell commented.

Vyatta does have a small form factor branded appliance with it own Vyatta 514 router, and Harrell noted that other Vyatta branded hardware may well be forthcoming. Dell has been a hardware partner for Vyatta for more than a year, though to date it has been Vyatta reselling Dell hardware as opposed to the other way around. Herrell did state however that in addition to Dell, Vyatta is now also orderable on IBM hardware through an IBM reseller.

Herrell noted that Vyatta has been able to dispel the misconception that you need to have specialized hardware to for networking by using x86 based technology. Cisco, Juniper and Alcatel-Lucent all have their own respective proprietary ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) .

Herrell himself is no stranger to Linux, Herrell was the SVP of Strategic Operations at embedded Linux vendor MontaVista Software before joining Vyatta. There are some things are the same at Vyatta and some things that are different.

"The main thing is making sure you leverage and contribute back to the community," Herrell said. "It's something MontaVista is good at and we're good at too."

The business models are a little different though in that MontaVista is an embedded software play whereas Vyatta is an end user facing product. Herrell noted that the way you package and make Vyatta's technology easy to use and service is what he needs to deliver day in and day out.

Vyatta is a venture backed enterprise and it's not yet clear at this point if the exit strategy involves an IPO.

"The smartest thing you can do is run your business for high growth and profitability," Herrell said. "Until you get to the point you should keep your head down and hands on the wheel, because if you try and manipulate a company for a short term exit you can make bad decisions, so we don't do that."