[vcf-midatlantic] vcf-midatlantic Digest, Vol 20, Issue 29

Kenneth Seefried kjseefried at gmail.com
Fri Jun 30 00:06:01 EDT 2017

From: Dave McGuire <mcguire at neurotica.com>
>  I didn't say it was impossible, I said it was pretty tough to do.

And I said it wasn't.  It wasn't in the old days if you knew what you
were doing and it definitely isn't now in the 95% of everything is
Ethernet/IP world.

> We've all seen those interfaces, and those of us (myself included) who
> have used them have run up against the same old problem of driver
> availability, OS version dependencies, etc etc.

Some of us were and are capable of dealing with those issue and routinely do.

>  In fact the first widely-deployed router that was capable of routing
> IP on a T3 at wire speed while handling BGP was an IBM RS/6000 7012-320
> with a synchronous serial card in it, bundled by IBM as the 6611 Network
> Processor.

I'm quite familiar with the 6611. Awful things to build large networks
with (I did) unless you really, really needed SNA/APPN weirdness that
it took Cisco a while to figure out (I, regrettably, did).  But, yes,
commodity hardware.  Lot's of IBM network network gear is "IBM
[RT,PC,PS/2,Power] + ARTIC card" under the cover.

That said, I believe a properly configured Wellfleet BLN could handle
T3 routing + BGP before the 6611 (in 1991?).  The Wellfleet BCN
certainly could, but I think production BCNs were delayed till after
the 6611 shipped.  I was building out a worldwide Wellfleet-based
network at the time (1100 routers?), but some of the details have
faded.  Wellfleet had the worst user interface ever conceived
(SiteManager aka SiteMangler), but we deployed tons, including some
interesting FDDI->FDDI routing scenarios (so the bandwidth was there).
Let's not stroll into the minefield that was Wellfleets OSPF

Those were heady days.

> But this is not the norm by any stretch.

Perhaps not the norm by Cisco sales numbers, but that's kinda like
saying *BSD doesn't exist because Microsoft.

- IBM sold a lot of 6611s.  For a long time.
- Internet IMPs were Honeywell DDP-516s - we've been doing routing on
commodity hardware for a long time.
- Nokia sold tens of millions of bog-standard rackmount ATX PCs (later
CPCI) running FreeBSD (relabled IPSO) as firewall/routers with
optional V.35/X.21, HSSI, ATM & FDDI interfaces.  I still use a
Nokia/Sagnoma sync serial card from an IP440 in my lab.
- Most of the earlier Juniper line are repackaged PCs running FreeBSD
(nee JunOS).
- SnapRoute is a Linux-based routing platform that AT&T has vetted for
5G network routing on commodity hardware
- etc., etc., etc.

And that ignores the whole Software Defined Network (SDN) trend which
is predominately OSS+White Box Hardware.  Little guys like Google,
Amazon & Facebook are betting on that.

> The fact that it can be done, and was very occasionally done, isn't really the point.

Sure, when 'the point' becomes cherry-picking whatever allows you
think declare yourself 'right'.  Par for the course, as they say.

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