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Cisco Routers Powered By Linux

Linux Invades Cisco

  • September 18, 2009
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

At the heart of many Cisco enterprise routers is its IOS operating system. When it comes to small business, however, Cisco isn't pushing IOS, which it developed itself -- instead, the networking giant is new small business router is powered by Linux.

Cisco today announced a new set of small business networking products including the SA 500-series security appliances, designed to provide unified threat management (UTM) capabilities. The SA 500-series routers provide the usual UTM combination of features including firewall, VPN, antispam, URL filtering and antivirus capabilities.

The new routers are not intended to compete against Cisco's enterprise class routers and are being specifically geared for the need of small-business users with less complexity and easier setup.

The new small business routing push comes as Cisco focuses on small- and midsized businesses (SMB) to help drive its own business during the current recession. During Cisco's most recent earnings conference call, CEO John Chambers specifically noted small business as a target area for growth.

For Cisco, the choice to avoid relying on IOS for its latest batch of small business products is all about simplicity.

"For us to be able to drive the price points in this market space and the complexity down, these are not IOS-based products," Mark Monday, Cisco's vice president and general manager of small business solutions, told InternetNews.com. "It is a Linux underlying operating system."

"IOS is a fantastic OS and there is no doubt in my mind that it's the best OS that can be offered," Monday added. "For us, to really focus on a partner that's not necessarily going to invest in learning IOS and all its capabilities, we have to deliver a simpler solution to them. So that's what we're really after."

Monday did not elaborate on the actual Linux kernel or distribution used by Cisco for the SA 500 series.

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