Tolly Test: Vyatta BGP performance evaluation vs. Cisco 7204VXR router

Tolly Test: Vyatta vs. Cisco 7204
Vyatta commissioned The Tolly Group to evaluate the results of its service provider/large enterprise edge routing solution versus the results of Cisco 7204VXR Routers with Network Processing Engines NPE-G1 and NPE-G2. Tolly Test Highlights:

1. Vyatta supports BGP route table size of 4.5 million routes.
3X more than the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G1 with maximum memory.
1.5X more than the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G2 with maximum memory.
2. Vyatta provides BGP convergence time more than 3X faster than the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G1 and 2X faster than the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G2.
3. Vyatta operates at Layer 3 wire speed across 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports in full mesh when forwarding 512-byte frames or higher while Cisco routers failed to achieve wire speed.
4. Vyatta delivers from 4X to 3.3X price/throughput advantages over the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G1 and Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G2.

Kelly Herrell
"This Tolly report shatters the myth of proprietary hardware and proves the vastly superior performance and value that Vyatta unlocks by bringing multi-core x86 hardware to networking," said Vyatta CEO - Kelly Herrell. "Vyatta's ability to offer such advanced BGP scalability comes at a critical time for customers." "The Internet is outgrowing the 7200, and the newly-announced ASR offers limited scalability at an even higher price." "With Vyatta, customers can choose a smarter route and scale their network requirements at a fraction of those proprietary costs." "We are excited to once again prove the superior performance and scalability of Vyatta's open networking approach."

During the test, engineers updated memory on all routers tested to the maximum capacity since memory size has a direct impact on route table capacity. The retail price of the 4-GB memory upgrade for the IBM System X3550, which hosted the Vyatta software, was $259. The retail price to upgrade the Cisco 7204VXR NPE-G1 for the maximum memory (1 GB) was $7,000 and the 2 GB of the memory for the Cisco 7204VXR NPE-G2 cost $8,000. This offers a clear picture of the monetary investment required for Cisco users to upgrade their systems compared to the Vyatta open software solution.

Detail Price Table

The Vyatta system was compared to the two Cisco 7204VXR routers in terms of the maximum number of BGP routes it can handle with maximum supported memory. Engineers measured that Vyatta supported 4.5 million BGP routes while the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G1 supported 1.4 million and the Cisco 7204VXR/NPE-G2 supported 3 million BGP routes. This demonstrates that Vyatta is more scalable than the Cisco 7204VXR routers when it comes to handling large Internet routing tables.

BGP Route Table Capacity

All routers introduce a small processing delay from the time they receive a routing update until the new information makes its way into the routing table. The goal is for this delay to be as small as possible. During a test of 250,000 route convergence, the Vyatta solution consumed 13 seconds to withdraw routes and reissue new routes. The Cisco 7204VXR NPE-G2 and 7204VXR NPE-G1 consumed 30 and 41 seconds, respectively, to converge to new routes. This demonstrates that Vyatta can process routing updates 2X to 3X faster than the Cisco routers tested.

BGP Convergence Time

Engineers tested the routers in a four-port port-pairing configuration. The Vyatta router was equipped with a four-port network adapter. For the Cisco routers, engineers installed a single-port Gigabit Ethernet Port Adapter (PA-GE) for the fourth GbE port to augment three existing GbE ports. Test results show that Vyatta performance does not degrade; it achieved aggregate throughput of 4 Gbps for 1,518-byte packets. Both Cisco routers exhibited significant performance degradation since they paired with a low performance GbE Port Adapter. The bidirectional throughput achieved with the Port Adapter was about 300 Mbps. Therefore, the aggregate four-port throughput with the Port Adapter (plus the theoretical maximum throughput of 2 Gbps from another pair of the ports on the NPE-G1/G2) cannot exceed 2.3 Gbps.

Aggregate Routing Throughput

Pricing for the products tested included the base system, as well as memory upgrades. With a retail price of $7,952 (for hardware and software), the Vyatta system delivers price/performance from a low of $2.65 per Mbps (512-byte packets or higher) to a high of $13.73 (64-byte packets). The retail price of the Cisco 7204VXR with NPE-G1 and 1 GB memory was $30,756. This results in a cost-per-Mbps ranging from a low of $10.66 (1,518-byte packets) to a high of $54.29 (64-byte packets). The retail price of the Cisco 7204VXR with NPE-G2 and 2 GB memory was $35,756. This results in a cost-per-Mbps ranging from a low of $12.47 (1,518-byte packets) to a high of $33.45 (64-byte packets). When users want to add a Layer 3 GbE routing port, Cisco users are faced with an option to buy a lower performance GbE Port Adapter (PA-GE) at the retail price of $6,000 ( Vyatta users, by contrast, pay only $197 for a PCI-X or a PCIe-based GbE port since they can leverage the structural cost benefits of the x86 ecosystem without degrading performance.

Aggregate Gigabit Ethernet LAN Routing Price/Throughput Analysis

In conclusion, the Vyatta system outperforms the Cisco 7204VXR in BGP convergence times and routing table capacity at a cost savings of over 75%. Vyatta also demonstrates superior price/throughput performance providing more than 3.3X advantage over the Cisco 7204VXR routers tested. View results of the entire test.

Customer Testimonial:

Simon Woodhead
"The performance, stability and availability of our network is critical to not only our business, but to that of our customers," said Simon Woodhead - Managing Director of Simwood eSMS Limited, a provider of wholesale VoIP services to carriers, corporates and ISPs. "We reviewed a number of alternatives, notably Cisco, but ultimately opted for Vyatta as we could obtain comparable performance for a fraction of the price." "That enabled us to opt for multiple units where we'd otherwise have had one, achieving our availability goals and superior scalability with unbeatable economics." "Opting for the Vyatta support was certainly the right decision too." "Our implementation pushed a few boundaries and stunned is only word I can use to describe the attentiveness that Vyatta provided." "Vyatta will be our standard choice for BGP router deployment moving forward."

Do YOU agree with The Tolly Group test results and the conclusions reached? View 63 more Cisco vs. Competitor Lab Tests.

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