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From Ian Carr-de Avelon
Answered By Mike Orr
In LG#65 I read:
"Another thing this article does is raise the question, just because we can use Linux in a wide variety of routing situations, should we? Are you choosing a Linux router because it's the most appropriate solution for the task, or simply because "we're a Linux-only shop"? "
Well... What are the choices? Basicly:
The Linux option has a lot going for it especially if you are an organisation which does not have a team only dedicated to routers, like large telcos do. Routing sits causing no problems for months, while you forget how to work on the router, and then when problems arrive it is panic stations, because nobody can work, clients are not being served and business is being lost. I run a Polish ISP with Linux and one CISCO router, which we bought because I was over ruled, because although the WAN card for Linux was cheaper, the CISCO dealer offered unbeatable financing. I don't see that changing soon.
[Mike] You bring up some good points, but that does not invalidate the question. I'm not saying Linux *shouldn't* be used for routing, just that each organization needs to weigh the price-vs-performance-vs-maintainability factors for iteself. The situation I was thinking about (and perhaps it wasn't clear in the paragraph) was not a small, low-traffic network, for which Linux's price and maintainability certainly runs circles over proprietary systems, but rather an an enterprise-level, high-traffic situation. Is there an amount of thoroughput above which Linux routers are not (currently) scalable, a point at which Ciscos would be more economical? I don't know, but a netadmin in that situation would want to explore both options before making a decision.
My point is not so much about Linux vs Cisco, but about jumping on the Linux bandwagon too quickly. We all know hundreds of companies that refused to consider any alternatives to buying NT servers, WINS servers, Novell servers, etc. The same can happen in the Linux world, if one refuses to consider an alternative to a Linux router more because it's politically incorrect than because of an actual comparision of price, performance and maintainability and how they would all affect your organization in its situation.
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