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[Discuss] Cisco's IOx architecture

On 02/01/2014 02:42 AM, Tom Metro wrote:
> Is running applications on your router really such a good idea?
> [...]
>   Cisco's IOx architecture will be a Linux-based operating system that
>   will be embedded in forthcoming industrial routers.
>   And unlike its previous box software, Cisco says it plans to open the
>   IOx architecture up for others to run their own applications on, but
>   that will remain to be seen. Cisco sums it up in its release like
>   this:
>     To better monitor, manage and respond to the massive amount of data
>     generated by IoT, IOx allows applications to run as close as
>     possible to the data source and create automated responses that
>     drive value.
>   Cisco isn't alone. In the residential world, Qualcomm has a similar
>   vision for the humble router, turning it into a content cache, and a
>   computer set to manage a house full of connected devices, including
>   running algorithms that govern which devices things can talk to and
>   when they might have access to the internet.
> So I guess it depends on how you interpret "applications." The idea of
> having an open router platform is great. The ability to add a Snort
> agent on your router makes sense. But running general server
> applications there is probably a bad idea.
> I get why Qualcomm wold want to do this for the home market. In many
> homes the router is the closest thing they have to a server. The only
> thing holding back consumer routers from being bloated with
> functionality is the competing desire to run them on cheap hardware. As
> the hardware increasingly gets more capable, manufacturers will continue
> stuffing more features unrelated to routing into them.
> I'm not sure I get the particular scenario Qualcomm describes where all
> the little connected devices in your house need a local cache of data.
> Is that so every device that displays the current weather doesn't have
> to retrieve that info by traversing your last mile link?
> I wonder if IOx will be open to the extent that you'll be able to run it
> on your own hardware. If its any good, that could open up some new
> avenues for pro-grade D-I-Y routers. Particularly if it is ported to ARM
> (if Cisco's build isn't already targeting ARM architecture).
> Anyone surprised they built this on Linux instead of *BSD, given the
> latter's reputation in security circles? I guess the dominance and
> familiarity with Linux in the enterprise market trumps that.
I think that the ability to run applications in a router is not a bad
thing per se. For instance, running a mail scanner can block some
content at the router level. So, to me it would depend on the ability of
the user to maintain the desired security as well as performance.

Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
PGP key id:3BC1EB90 
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