Cisco Routers : Penguins Inside?

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It has been officially announced by Cisco: Application eXtension Platform (AXP) enhances the capabilities of the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) by enabling a tighter integration between the branch network, IT and application infrastructure. Ok, what does it mean? High-end routers were already able to run TCL scripts. Now, thanks to AXP, Linux will be supported via a SDK.

Will we see such output soon 😉 ?

router#sh ver
Linux router 2.6.9-42 #1 Sat Aug 12 09:39:11 CDT 2006 RC32300

It seems that the integration will be very deep between the Linux and router environments (example: events such as an interface going down could be triggered to the Linux side). On a pure technical point of view, this system opens unlimited possibilities to developers. But, what about security? I’m convinced that the separation of duties stays a good principle at network level: A router is designed to route packets (as quick as possible) that’s it!

Check out Crossbeam. Did you ever heard about this company? They developed solutions to virtualize network components onto the same chassis: firewalls, IDS, anti-spam,… On the paper, it sounds very interesting but:

  • The chassis was very expensive, maintenance too.
  • The platform (also Linux based) was marginal. This means late (or wost, no) upgrade or support (compatibility?)
  • Lack of freedom regarding future expansions.

The new Cisco/Linux integration sounds exactly the same story. Just my 2€!

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