FIPTech, a lot of commercial vendors base their Network Operating Systems on Linux, they just develop closed source modules and user-space applications to add the required functionality and make them unique.
If it is a question of profitability for Mikrotik, I would be happy to pay a premium for a L7 "Enterprise feature set" licence that included features like IPSEC with VTI/NHTB and stateful High Availability.
Even if you could pay for this (like me and others) i doubt Mikrotik can find the developpment time to do advanced things like this in a raisonnable amount of time.
That's why i say that those smaller companies and some opensource groups should collapse to design new kernel routing extensions to Linux, instead of reinventing the wheel each one in front of their own desks.
For example Provider Backbone Bridge, PPB-TE and GMPLS compatibility is a big work. Can't be done by a single entity.
Smaller clients do needs those functions in a raisonnable delay after they have been implemented by big companies, so that they can stay in the competition.
If you need to wait 5 or 10 years to get those functions and you can't pay for $$$$$ or €€€€€ routers, then you can't catch opening markets.
I think there is a market for harware accelerated routers, 1 to 10 times the power of a RB1100 (and 1 to 10 times the price), with support for PBB, PBB-TE and other missing functions often discussed in this forum.
X86 multi core is not the solution. This is power hungry, expensive, often unreliable because of untested hardware and drivers.
The solution is mixed MIPS (or other risc arhitecture processors) combined with FPGA based logic processing hardware, so that L3 packet processing is done by accelerated circuits at wire speed.
RB2000 to RB10000 products with a level 7 licence could be very interesting products, for small to small-medium Internet and networks providers.
Extracting C++ Linux kernel code to recode it inside VHDL logic code for FPGA use is not a simple task.This kind of mixed programming is often done inside products of very big companies like HP, Sony, Cisco, EXFO to give only a few of them... But the amount of knowledge and developement time is certainly difficult to support for smaller sized companies, but not impossible...
The advantages of hardware logic acceleration is :
- lower production cost
- lower power consumption
- garanteed wire speed capabilities with lower clock speeds than serial processing
The main disadvantage is the cost of development, spliting Linux code and proprietary extensions to mixed VHDL programming.
Mikrotik know how to program FPGA circuits. I've seen they are using small ones in their RB products. It would be fine if they could use them for routing acceleration so that their high end products could be considered carrier class.
Yes i said carrier class. Because even if you are a small or very small provider, or even selling routers to final clients, you can't loose packets or add excessive amount of jitter or gaps in the streams.
This is because today VoIP and Video is more and more transported on IP or MPLS networks where latency and packet delivery is not garanteed - because of the asynchronous nature of Ethernet, and because of the large used packet size.
So the only way to have good quality on non SDH / ATM based networks is to use carrier class Ethernet routers, as soon as you are pushing more than a few 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps of trafic.
Perhaps i'm wrong, but i feel that Mikrotik has the required smartness to manufacture very nice small carier class products if they can find the necessary help from other groups / manufacturers, or perhaps from their bank :=)
The new RouterBoard SXT with NV2 support seems to prouve this. Very smart product.