VyOS Networks Blog

Building an open source network OS for the people, together.

Reusing existing hardware: let’s build a community HCL!

Yuriy Andamasov
Posted 31 Jul, 2022

Hello Community!

The hardware crisis isn’t getting any better. If anything, there’s a chance that it’s only the beginning. 

It’s not yet certain whether high prices and shortages will become the new normal or not. Still, it’s certain that keeping old hardware in use for longer and reusing old hardware for different purposes has always been the environmentally-responsible approach.

It’s just that until recently, that approach was mostly practiced by environmentally-conscious people and people who simply couldn’t afford to purchase new hardware on a whim. Companies with big budgets often looked down upon it. Well, now the economic reality forces more people to make decisions that are also environmentally friendly.  Still, if people can easily see whether they can reuse a certain box for VyOS, it will simplify those decisions.

One of the goals of VyOS is to run on as much hardware as possible—not least to facilitate hardware reuse. Any reasonably modern box can handle gigabit traffic flows now, so it’s wasteful not to use them. The saddest variant of obsolescence is when a box is abandoned by its proprietary software vendor or when that vendor intentionally omits features from the software for that box.

Still, many proprietary router boxes are x86 boxes under the hood and can be kept in use by upgrading them to a different OS—VyOS, for example. 

We know people are doing it, and we hear from them quite often—sometimes their success stories, sometimes questions about how to get this or that thing to work.

Now that reuse is more important than ever, it’s a good idea to collect that knowledge. To make it easier, we should compile an HCL so that everyone can easily see if a device they already own is supported.

We can only build it together since no one can buy all possible hardware to test it.

And there’s only one way to do that without violating anyone’s privacy by collecting hardware information from VyOS installations through telemetry: ask existing users what their hardware is and whether it works well for them.

So, what’s the plan to help other people reuse old hardware?

Please note that you can submit the form more than once. If you are using multiple appliances, please submit it for each appliance!

Right now, we are especially interested in network appliances, whether they come as OEM boxes or with some network OS preinstalled (e.g. Lanner, SuperMicro, WatchGuard, SonicWall, NetGate, etc.), since they provide easy answers to the question “what box can I use for VyOS” and “can I use this box for VyOS”. At later stages, we will focus on building an HCL for network cards and more general-purpose servers.

We are also preparing special swag for contributors, so participating in this effort is also a chance to be one of the first people to receive it!

The simplest metric is the number of submitted devices, but that's not all:

We will contact you and ask you for more detailed diagnostics and measurements.

At the end, we will select people who reported and tested the largest number of boxes most thoroughly and send them rewards.

Our rewards include:

Fill out the form, and we will contact you!


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