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Re: NANOG 40 agenda posted
As someone who has used both the appliance route (ie: Foundry ServerIron or F5 BigIP) and nix box (ie: pound or OpenBSD's hoststated), they each have their advantages/disadvantages as Joe kindly points out. Cost comes down as a factor normally.. spend 10 hours tweaking the perfect MythTV box or an hour @ Fry's to buy a Tivo - weigh your own time against your wallet.
I find that appliance route still has a number of major advantages for "serious" or enterprise use - SNMP agent (graph # of connections per VIP), failover (though CARP fixes this in the OpenBSD land), fancy healthchecks (developers aren't always clueful enough to code errors in the form of HTTP codes), security features (limit req/sec based on a cookie, CIDR or some other metric), etc. Ironically in the 10gig range, the available products to do L7 traffic fudging are limited and quite costly - a lot of folks with lots of bits to push (I do video) tend to take the "Direct Server Return"/nPath/etc route. Appliances tend to have support contracts and that allows the suits to sleep at night too.