Extreme Networks has released the ExtremeWare XOS operating system, which is Linux-based.
The software runs Extreme’s line of BlackDiamond 10K Layer 3 Gigabit Ethernet switches, and is used to control services, protocols and applications running on the switch.
Extreme says its Linux-based switch software differs from network equipment from other vendors in that the protocols and services on the switch can be turned on and off, just as services or applications can be run and terminated on a Linux box. Traditional network operating systems are typically an all-or-nothing deal; the entire device must be taken offline to turn on new features. (Or, worse, if a process fails on the device, the entire switch/router goes down.)
This is also a benefit being touted in the code developed by the Extensible Open Router Platform project discussed last time.
Extreme says it chose Linux for its durability and the openness of the code, which allowed the company to mold the software to run on its switch hardware. It says modifications were made in the Linux kernel to improve the packet forwarding capabilities of the software, as well as hardening its security and to make it run on Extreme’s custom processors and ASICs. Extreme says that in accordance with the GPL, it will be pushing its changes to Linux back to the open-source community, which should be interesting for Linux router enthusiasts to see.