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Cisco quaking in its proprietary boots?

May 02, 20062 mins
Cisco SystemsNetworkingOpen Source

A session at Interop this afternoon posed an intriguing if somewhat premature question: “Open source networking: Should the networking giants be worried?”

Uh, no would be the obvious answer – at least not today. … But then again, it wasn’t that long ago that they laughed at Linux.

“People are starting to value flexibility and freedom,” said Dave Roberts, vice president of strategy for Vyatta, a startup with XORP-based router code in beta and available for free download.

Roberts offered this anecdote to bolster his contention that the time for open-source routing has arrived: “A couple of weeks ago Cisco actually obsoleted its 3700 series of routers. So you had a bunch of companies making purchases of 3800 series routers to replace the 3700 series that Cisco won’t sell them anymore. Now it was not a case of those companies saying, ‘Gosh, I really need a 3800.’ One of the things that open source does is put the power for making a decision like that back into the hands of the people buying the product. The fact is that those 3700s were working just fine, there was no problem with them and people liked them.”

Roberts acknowledged that companies like Cisco have little choice but to retire their old stuff, but his point was that users can and should be have an alternative to meekly following vendor timetables.

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