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Network Networking Operating Systems

Cisco Developing Standalone Networking OS, Report Says (crn.com) 77

Cisco has built a new network operating system that will allow users to run its most sophisticated networking features on older and lower-cost Cisco routers and switches, according to a report. From a report: The move to potentially disrupt its networking hardware business was first reported by The Information, which said that Cisco, for now, is not looking to have its network operating system available for non-Cisco switches. Customers who want to run the new operating system, known as Lindt, will be able to move away from switches based on proprietary high-performance Cisco chips to Cisco hardware that works with lower-cost chips, according to the report.
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Cisco Developing Standalone Networking OS, Report Says

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  • They can keep it. Our company just dumped all of our Cisco equipment because it was buggy and unreliable. I don't understand how these guys are still in business.
    • Re:Keep it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @10:24AM (#54142833)
      "No ever got fired for buying Cisco."
    • They can keep it. Our company just dumped all of our Cisco equipment because it was buggy and unreliable. I don't understand how these guys are still in business.

      Granted, Cisco has had their share of problems. The most recent one being that certain equipment models over a span of a few years were prone to RAM failure. If you have those models in your environment and they are failing, then yes, it would appear to you that their equipment is buggy. However, I've had experience in large environments with a lot of different Cisco equipment and we rarely run into premature hardware failures, for the most part they just run.

      Typically, other than the RAM problem mention

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Nope. I dropped them because their routers kept flaking out and needing reboots. I spent significantly more on routers from another company.
        • Weird. I have 2800 series routers and 3750 series switches that have over 10 years uptime. Never powered off. Never restarted. Running since June 2006. They are solid.

          Now I will admit that I'm behind on my IOS updates.

          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            We were using entry level routers. Regardless of whether it was entry level or not, they didn't work the way they were supposed to. Maybe the heavier duty stuff is better. I don't really know.
          • by Cramer ( 69040 )

            Depends on what you make them do, and the version of code used to do it. There are some parts of IOS they simply don't test. (I've had QA engineers say so.) The biggest issue I've had -- and they've never fully fixed it -- is DHCP on a NAT outside interface. "interface nat" doesn't work. And then there's always some little memory leak or corruption issue somewhere that will crash the thing at some point. (even if it takes years.)

      • by Cramer ( 69040 )

        Very rarely is it the hardware

        - Cisco 7401's: cache design fault causes random reboots.
        - PIX 501: poor choice of power connector, and poorer choice of internal power components led to the first few thousand having to be "fixed"
        - ... bad caps (industry wide issue for a few years)
        - ... bad RAM across the entire spectrum of products

        And that's not counting the thousands of "one off" failures enterprises experience all the time. (that's why you buy Smartnet!) I've had the SRAM (packet memory) in a VIP "go bad".

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      Cisco alone has 53% [telecompaper.com] of the overall worldwide switching and routing market. If you cannot get their equipment to work, it's not their fault. Maybe you could hire someone who know's what they're doing?
      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        The equipment I had from them did not work as they were supposed to. They were a mess, and I wasn't the only one having tons of problems with them. Maybe their enterprise class stuff works correctly, but their lower end stuff that I used certainly doesn't. Thanks for your snark, though! It was really helpful!
        • by jon3k ( 691256 )
          Sorry, I just don't believe you. Considering the number of people successfully using Cisco equipment the more likely explanation is user error. Either you misunderstood the capabilities of the device or it was implemented improperly. It's just far more likely, statistically speaking, sorry.
          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            No need to apologize. I don't care if you believe me or not. I'm contributing my viewpoint to this discussion. We're happy since we replaced our Cisco junk with working routers, so that's really all that matters.
    • What did you replace it with?
  • Translation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Translation:

    The hardware business is going stale. Lets add the same feature in software, where we can nickel and dime people for the same features,and tightly control access.

    Packet inspection license
    Packet routing license
    Packet switching license
    UDP packet license
    TCP packet license
    NSA inspection fee....

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      Pretty much. That's why Cisco bought Meraki, to attempt to dissect how to leverage the subscription model instead of just selling hardware to customers and providing support if it's needed.

    • The hardware business is going stale

      Software cannot run out of thin air. This is not what "Cloud" means. It's simply different hardware, or other people's hardware. In the end, you still need computing power and specialized hardware to do serious business stuff. Virtualization needs an underlying physical layer.

      • Yet I still agree with you that every small feature gets a price tag. But isn't it already the way it works? It's been like that for years. Take the ASA 5505 for example. Depending on the license level you bought, they put a limit on the number of open connections, the encryption types you can use, whether or not you can establish P2P VPN or accept incoming VPN users... These are all software limitations. I agree that they bought Meraki for their business model though, to have a "better" offer (... profit!)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That'll be $5,000 per year, please for your 5-port switch. That includes your per port license fee for using IP networking, license fee per port for gigabit Ethernet, license fee for linking one port to another switch, license fee for admin access, license fee for installing the unit during a full moon...

    • Don't lapse on your $5,000 per year or you get to pay it retroactively if you want to install a security update to fix their bugs.

      I swear, somebody in Cisco is a double-agent for HP.

      • by ghoul ( 157158 )

        I swear IT customers are like girls who fall for the bad boys and ignore the decent guys. if a company wants a simple license fee to use its software people will pirate it or ignore it and use "open source". But if you get someone who abuses you by saying my way or the highway they will stick to him/it even closer. Witness Apple, Cisco,Accenture etc etc

        • You're conflating two types of customers: individuals (who just want to grab a tool and get on with their job) and corporations (who want every procurement to have a business case and approval from IT Security, Legal, Supply Chain, a Business Analyst, and 3-4 managers). The open source product wins because the developer/engineer/analysts/creative can just use it and ...er... ask for permission later (like maybe never, later). The big Oracle-like products win because they can afford account reps who will win

          • by ghoul ( 157158 )

            Why cant you setup your own DR instead of going to a Cloud Hosted Model? Cloud hosting is a continuos drain whereas with your own DR you can use that money to fund your own IT positions forever. Again efficiency for the sake of efficiency is dumb when you end up eliminating your own job.

        • by Cramer ( 69040 )

          Negative. This is simple nickel-and-dime price rouging. They sell you the same piece of hardware with a different model number on it, crippling it in software and licensing. For example, the ages old ASA 5510/20/40/50. They're all the same hardware. They get slightly faster, and better processors, and more DIMM slots, but it's the same software on the same motherboard. On the 10, the four gigabit nics are limited to 10/100; if you buy the expensive security plus license, then *two* of them can be set to gig

          • by ghoul ( 157158 )

            A Gucci purse cost 5 dollars to manufacture in a sweatshop in Bangladesh. its sold for 5000 USD. Why? Because people in the fashion industry know not to shit where they eat. Software developers are their own worse enemy. The cost of something is not what it costs you to produce, its what someone is willing to pay for it. Thats Economics 101

      • by Cramer ( 69040 )

        Security updates/fixes can be had for free. It can be a bit of work to get them honor it, but every security advisory has a clause at the bottom to contact TAC for non-contract customers. (In my experience, it's faster to search the internet for it, than deal with out-of-contract interactions with TAC.)

    • That includes your per port license fee for using IP networking

      Joke's you you! I use IPX netwo

  • spyware upgrade (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Cisco has built a new network operating system that will allow spy agencies to run their most recent spyware on older and lower-cost Cisco routers and switches"

    ftfy

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @10:22AM (#54142817)

    It's written in assembly and is so compact that it fits on a floppy disk. It's called Lindt now but I think they should stuck with the original name, the Disk Operating System. ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by leathered ( 780018 )

      It's called Lindt

      I imagine it's choc full of features.

    • Assembly? So they're running the networking OS off PCs? What about people who're not on Windows? Reading the headline, I thought they were releasing an OS that would run on their old equipment, but support current networking standards, such as IPv6

  • Designed with security from the ground up! Right?
  • Will rent out to highest bidder!!

  • Market response (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @11:20AM (#54143339)

    This is only a surprise outside of large enterprises.

    Open Flow (SDN) is threatening them at the high end, and there are multiple competitors at the low/mid market---including Dell, who bought Force10 and is pushing their network and storage products very seriously.

    Dell now owns VMware, EMC, Compellent, and Force10. They only need power delivery and UPS to offer a complete datacenter.

    Cisco cannot justify insane pricing in the face of so many capable competitors. Especially when their attempts to expand into cloud services failed so miserably. Their hardware offerings outside of network gear are almost laughable.

    Cisco can probably survive another 10-20 years if they compete well with their gear. The gear has always been solid, and the problem has always been a combination of lock-in and price. Competing on price will keep them a while, especially with their track record, but they will need more than competitive network gear to survive long-term.

  • Are vendors so stuck in the hardware device sales mode that we will never see generic switch form factors where you load the switching/routing software into the device like an x86 box?

    I would kind of expect one of the chipset vendors to come out with what amounts to an x86 rackmount with bus-attached switching modules, kind of an expanded version of a multiport NIC but with programmable ASICs for speed.

    From what I've seen of the Dell N-series (which mostly seems to be rebranded OEM Broadcom) boot sequence,

    • I think there was an attempt to create an open source version of the Cisco firmware but that never took off.
    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      There are, indeed, such "white box" switches out there. They aren't 100% open as Broadcom isn't about to release the SDK for their switch chips. (and having worked with the mess, you. don't. want. it.) And it's Broadcom's chips at the heart of almost every manufacturers switches. (even Cisco and HP)

  • I've got a stack of Cisco gear in my basement while studying for Cisco certs and I've managed Cisco gear in production. The stuff is solid, but managing it feels like it's 1999.

    Meanwhile, there are tons of SDN vendors that feel like 2017 - single pane of glass management and monitoring without nickel and diming you on each feature and smartnet contracts. (Cisco knows this and that's why they bought Meraki).

    Cisco still makes great carrier grade high-end gear, but the middle and low-end stuff is displacing

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      (Cisco knows this and that's why they bought Meraki)

      So they could nickel-and-dime you in the cloud as well.

      Meraki is ok. But their hardware is way too expensive, and the never ending cloud management fees can't be ignored. For an enterprise that can't afford a huge IT staff, the stuff is perfect, if costly.

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