If you are involved in computers, networking or Information Security and are unfamiliar with Vyatta and it’s capabilities you really do owe it to yourself to spend some time investigating this sometimes overlooked powerhouse of networking capabilities. In my daytime career I often utilize Vyatta systems to solve a wide variety of networking challenges. Some of what I have learned and do I will share here.
What is Vyatta? Where did it come from? How long has it been around? Why would I want to consider this over other solutions? Is this supported? Is it documented?
These are just a few of the questions I have fielded over the last few years as I have introduced the capabilities of Vyatta into the environments I support. In my shop, and in many others I have supported over the years, there is the often heard saying that goes something like “no one ever gets fired for buying Cisco” which is likely true though that does not mean I should blindly continue purchasing products from a company that is becoming more and more bloated, difficult to deal with and in my opinion waaayyyyy over priced for what you get.
Vyatta comes in two versions know as Vyatta Community or Core which is the open community version of the OS and the licensed/supported version (recently acquired by Brocade) now available via Brocade.com. In my mind and experience both Core and licensed have their place in my toolkit of solutions. I often use the Community version for testing and mockup situations, validation testing and even for home use for myself and family requirements. The differnces in the two flavors revolve around support and some missing capabilities that are available in one version but not the other. You can find a chart illustrating some of the differences (at the moment) below.
So where did Vyatta come from?
Vyatta is a Debian based Linux distribution software with core components including Quagga and OpenVPN that has grown in capability since it’s introduction/availability in early 2006.
There are a variety of reasons why I think Vyatta deserves a seat at the table of considerations for many network deployments. Aside from the obvious that it is Linux based (yay!), stable, Open Source based and can be free one of my favorite things about Vyatta is that I can install it on pretty much any piece of hardware I have available. I have personally installed on everything from old junk servers that I have had access to, virtual installs, Netgate boxes, desktops and even modest Alix boxes with wireless. Obviously NONE of this is possible with the likes of Cisco IOS and I have accomplished it all done without mortgaging anything!
What are your opinions/experiences with Vyatta?