Tuesday, February 28, 2006


People have been asking us why the default username on our products is "rl" with password "rl7879". I can explain part of that.... The original name for the company was RouteLogics (hence the "rl"). When we hired people who knew how to do marketing, we changed the name to something a bit less geeky. The 7879 numbers I can't explain, and when I ask Robert about it he shrugs and says, "It's some numbers."

Needless to say, if you are thinking about putitng our product on a network accessible to the general public, please change the passwords for both the root and rl accounts.

If you need help on this, you can find our command reference here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Da Money

I've been getting some emails from various people asking how we intend on making money at Vyatta. While we are not focused on that goal at the moment, the day will come where we'll have to pay some bills or the lights will go out.

Essentially what we are doing is being stewards and integrators of multiple open source projects for networking. We've integrated about 60+ projects into our image and are working on more everyday. We'll be pushing our all of our code developments back to the open source projects that we use, such as XORP. We want to foster and participate in a community of like-minded individuals that want to see open source software thrive in the networking world.

To generate revenue, we'll provide commercial support and service for our products. We don't intend to make our products closed source or to limit their distribution in anyway. In our minds, the more copies of Vyatta flung far and wide into the world the better.

We think that what is unique about Vyatta is that we offer an entire open source router/firewall distribution (including things like a CLI, GUI, VRRP, RADIUS, SNMP, serial line card drivers, etc.). We're not just doing a protocol stack that is loosely integrated with other components via Linux and we're not a closed product that was originally based on open source components. We offer up our entire product, source code included, to the world.

That being said, it's early in the game. We need help from the community to take our product, to fix it and to expand it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Investment Thesis

I've been getting lots of queries from my VC peers about our investment in Vyatta. For some reason or another, folks don't seem to want to believe that open source software and commodity hardware can go down the stack from the operating system instead of up the stack toward applications. It's a question that we asked ourselves when we first funded this company with our partners ComVentures and Arrowpath Venture Partners.

Are networking systems that different at their core than other complex applications running on commodity hardware these days?

In a few more words, the basic premise for the investment thesis was as follows: if open source can act as a disruptive technology at the operating system (Linux, SUSE, Debian, etc.), on complex applications such as databases (mySQL, postgres, etc.), CRM (SugarCRM) and middleware (JBoss) then why can't this same business paradigm translate to a network system called a router, firewall, VPN, IP PBX, load-balancer, etc.?

Sure, software applications don't have the same physical dependencies as networks in some situations, but when was the last time you added much to your network that wasn't T1, T3, OC3, or 10/100/1000 Ethernet? Who really installs IEEE802.5, SMDS, UltraNet, or even FDDI these days?

And, yes, commodity hardware with rotating media has a lower MTBF than a device running from NVRAM. That's why an appliance we're testing has the software running from RAM and loaded via compact Flash (the stuff that costs like $1/MB these days at BestBuy - commodity!). We took the rotating media out of the appliance entirely as a test and it's working fine.

Let's also remember the target market here. Clearly, it's not the core of ATT, UUNET, or anywhere else a CRS-1 or T-640 belongs. And, we're probably not going to be the best choice for your wiring closet where you put in a Cat6K with 192 ports of Gig Ethernet.

But, for everything in between - the branch office router, the enterprise firewall, the server load-balancer, the VPN concentrator, the IP PBX... well, there's a target market for an investment thesis. Besides, I'll bet that you have open source software on servers near to those devices anyway.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Good PR day

Today was a good PR day for my portfolio company Vyatta. First, some folks started to pick up the Business2.0 article that was posted yerterday. Then, I presented the company at the ICSI conference in Berkeley in the afternoon. And, to top it all off, Om Malik was kind enough to follow up his Business2.0 article with a post on his giga-popular GigaOm site. That post got picked up in the blogosphere by lots of folks like Jeff Pulver.

As a VC, I wish all of my investments got this much press on a regular basis! Now, how do I make that happen? I guess that is part of the "adventure" of being a venture capitalist.

The voice on our main menu

We knew the Business2.0 article was coming and we were getting the office, website and everything ready for our unstealth-ing (not a word, I know). One hiccup - the consultant we had to set up our Asterisk phone system (all open source!) mis-spoke our name on our main menu. We knew that we did not have the best phone voices in the company, so we called up the executive admin of our of our VC partners, Michelle Kelso at Arrowpath Venture Partners. Michelle has a great phone voice and she was kind enough to come over and record our main menu greeting. Thanks Michelle! You can hear Michelle when you call our main number!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why I don't need coffee this morning

Today is a pretty exciting day for Vyatta, one of the Panorama Capital (www.panoramacapital.com) portfolio companies where I am involved. The company has been in stealth mode and we just got our first press coverage in Business 2.0 here.

Needless to say, waking up to a slew of emails generated from this article keeps me quite alert!

I'm also trying to get prepped for a speech tomorrow in Berkeley - it's going to be a fun 24 hours!

More about that experience tomorrow....