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VYATTA - The Easy Tutorial - Introduction

Vyatta Introduction
Last Change : Mar 14 2008


Details What is Vyatta?
Tutorial Vyatta
Vyatta & Cisco Commands
Vyatta/Cisco/Quagga Comparison (Quagga section)
Case Study 1 - Static routes (VC 2.0)
Case Study 2 - OSPF simple (VC 2.0)
Case Study 3 - OSPF advanced (VC 2.0)
Case Study 4 - BGP (VC 3.0)
Case Study 5 - VRRP (VC 2.2)
Case Study 6 - NAT (VC 2.0)
Case Study 7 - DHCP (VC 2.2)
Case Study 8 - IPSec (VC 2.2)
Case Study 9 - Packages (VC 3.0)
Case Study 10 - Bridging (VC 3.0)
Case Study 11 - CDP VC 3.0

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XORP Vyatta

Latest stable Vyatta release: VC 3.0 Oct 29 2007
Vyatta is an open source routing software which is developed by the Vyatta company created in 2005.
Vyatta uses a routing engine called XORP (for eXtensible Open Router Platform) created in 2002 and funded at the beginning by Intel and the National Science Foundation, then by Microsoft and Vyatta.

The interesting idea with Vyatta comes from their packaged software including XORP and a Debian-derived Linux distribution. You can use Vyatta as a LiveCD and save the config on a floppy disk or install it on your hard drive for better performances. Vyatta is extremely easy to get started because the "routing engine" and the OS are now merged in a unique package.

In January 2008, Vyatta introduced the testing release "Glendale Alpha 1". This release not longer uses the XORP shell for the Vyatta CLI but a redesigned shell called FusionCLI based on the Bash command shell. FusionCLI looks like the XORP shell but is annouced by Vyatta to be more powerful and will ease feature development.

Vyatta can be used on any computer with an x.86 architecture, in other words a computer with a Intel or Intel-like processor such as a AMD processor and of course, at least one network interface. Even it's only facultative, it's better to have a floppy disk drive or a hard drive to save the configurations.

The CLI (Command Line Interface) Vyatta routing platform is called xorpsh for xorp shell. This interface looks like the Juniper OS interface but is very different to the famous Cisco IOS CLI.
A web interface is available for those who you don't like the command line interface. The telnet and ssh (secure shell) protocols can be used to access Vyatta too.

The Vyatta router supports a large panel of normalized network protocols such as:
- Routing: RIPv2, OSPF, BGP.
- Encapsulation: Frame relay or PPP.
- Address translation (NAT).
- Redundancy protocol (VRRP).
- DHCP server or relay.
- Troubleshooting: TCPdump.
- Stateful Firewall.
The standardized protocols used by Vyatta let it interact successfully with the products of other manufacturers such as the American telecomm giants Cisco, Nortel and Juniper or any other devices respecting the network standards defined in RFCs (Request for comment) made by the international IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) group.

The advantages of Vyatta are particularly interesting:
The software is free.
It just requires an x.86 architecture as hardware.
Due to its open source concept, the security is improved because it can be audited by external companies and in case of security problems, everyone can work to solve it.
The Vyatta router stays less powerful compared to the commercial products but this is mainly due to the fact that Vyatta is nearly always used as a software based solution and not a hardware-based solution like its rivals.
A "partial" hardware-based solution is available for Vyatta with a Dell appliance where Vyatta is preinstalled on the hard drive.

The Vyatta router does not own natively the functionality richness of a Cisco router and the power of its plateform but there is no miracle as Vyatta does not have under the hand the hundred of million dollars spent by the Californian Company every year. Fortunately, this is not a problem because only a few functionalities already supported by Vyatta are really used to run a router. It's good to stress that you can install packages to add new functionalities such as for example the CDP (Cisco Discovery Protocol) support.
This is right that the Vyatta router is still young and is lacking some important functionalities such as VPN but the development team is working on it and will surely solve this as soon as possible.
See here the Vyatta development projects.

Since Vyatta VC 2.2, a lot of major bugs have been solved. Vyatta can now compete with the Cisco 1xxx and 2xxx routers series such as the 1800, 2600 or 2800 routers series.

Vyatta can be used in small to medium business environments with confidence, but before implementing Vyatta in your production network we strongly recommend you to test it in a labo to see if it matches what you need. We do not recommand to use BGP for the moment (VC 3.0) because of a OSPF to BGP redistribution bug.

You must be very careful about what Vyatta indicates on its web site about the Community Edition: "Patches and bug fixes every 6 months only".
It means that you could potentially have to wait a long time for a major bug correction.