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Re: workhorse of the future...
From: Richard A Steenbergen <ras () e-gerbil net>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 01:47:48 -0500

On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 10:39:59PM +0000, bmanning () vacation karoshi com wrote:

first it was the vitalinks, then the bridge gear, then proteon, then cisco AGS,
then 7600VXR, then 7301s....

looking to find the next-gen workhorse ... looking for 4-6yr life expectancy.
pointers(private are ok) are appreciated - as well as -why- you think the
suggested boxen are likely candidates.

You know if I didn't know better, I would think this was a troll. :)

Everyone's workhorses are different, depending on what kind of work you 
want to do with them. The 7200VXR (which is what I assume you meant) and 
7301 are the last great "mostly cpu based" routers out there, which is why 
they have lasted as long and become as widely used as they have. Any time 
you have a CPU based solution it is going to be easier to add new features 
quickly, and handle a wide variety of tasks. Personally I couldn't find a 
use for either one in my network on a dare, but that is because I care 
about capacity not high touch services or L2TP termination.

It is pretty hard to predict what box is going to be the "it" thing for 
the next 5 years, though I certainly agree that anyone interested in 
making smart purchases needs to be concerned about the viability of the 
product over exactly that kind of timeframe. For my needs, the Juniper 
M160 has been the workhorse for the past 3-5 years, though its time is 
rapidly coming to an end. The weapon of choice for L3 ethernet aggregation 
is certainly now the 6500/7600 SUP720 based platforms, and will probably 
see a good 5 years worth of use and deployment. Folks like Foundry, 
Extreme, and Force10 have all come out with interesting "nextgen" boxes at 
L2, but I think they've already lost the L3 war to Cisco before firing a 
single shot.

I'm not entirely certain that the next 5 years has been ironed out in the 
carrier space yet. There is still plenty of opportunity for Juniper to be 
dethroned if they follow through with some of the disturbing trends 
they've been setting (and from all indications, we won't be seeing 
anything new or even close to revolutionary for at least 2 years). The 
point has been made that this pattern of becoming complacent re: 
innovation and cost effectiveness until you get your ass handed to you by 
a competetive product is the natural cycle of things, and we may very well 
be near another turning point in the market like what happened when 
Juniper first hit the scene. The CRS1 hasn't made significant headway into 
the market yet either though, most likely due to its lack of any low-end 
or "non-40Gbps" cards as an upgrade path for existing GSR users.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the 7206VXR and 7301 still in use 5 years 
from now though, some roles just aren't that demanding traffic-wise, and 
are better served by a CPU based solution. I couldn't tell you if there 
are plans for a bigger beefier CPU-based router (not my area of concern 
really), but in that space I think the 7300 may be a safe bet for the near 

Richard A Steenbergen <ras () e-gerbil net>       http://www.e-gerbil.net/ras
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)

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