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Sunday, December 05, 2004Ronald). Business Week had an interesting article on the advent of XORP (the eXtensible Open Router Platform). The concept is simple: provide enterprises cheaper and more flexible routers built on commodity hardware and open-source software. The cheaper hardware comes from microprocessor vendors such as Intel whereas the software would be open-source. The project has the backing of players such as Microsoft and the NSF (National Science Foundation). The first release of XORP came out in July, and more are expected in the future.
Of course, this is still very much a work in progress, which at this point in time is still far from posing a threat to other router vendors such as Cisco, Extreme or Foundry. Also, this is not the first attempt to create a software-based router based on open-source code. But the backing of above-mentioned players lends some level of credibility to this work. Perhaps another validation comes from the fact that nowadays, even Cisco has a line of low-priced networking gear based on Linux, that targets the pragmatic, cost conscious consumer.
But ultimately, the appeal of XORP is not only the lower cost, but also the level of customization that it empowers end-users with. These end-users can configure the software to suit their own particular needs and/or applications. Not only that, the network routing can be embedded as software inside a server or other devices
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