“The main advantage of software solutions is that they are hardware-independent”. An interview with our CBDO Artem Tereschenko

February 1, 2022
“The main advantage of software solutions is that they are hardware-independent”. An interview with our CBDO Artem Tereschenko
To solve traffic filtering problems, ISPs usually install an expensive hardware and software complex. However, there is an alternative - a software solution, which can be just as effective as the hardware and at the same time reasonably priced.

VAS Experts is a company that develops services for internet traffic control and deep analysis. Artem Tereschenko, the business developer manager of the VAS Experts company told about the technical advantages of software solutions, how they help to optimize the budget and not to depend on hardware, as well as the direction in which technology will develop.

Is it correct that software solutions are better than hardware ones because they are not bound to hardware?

It would be wrong to say that they are definitely better. They are different and they have a number of features that are unique to them.

First of all, they’re really independent of the hardware manufacturers, so our customers can optimize their development, optimization, and maintenance costs here. After all, large companies usually try to minimize the amount of disparate equipment and vendors.

Secondly, the life cycle of these solutions is longer. When hardware solutions fail or become out of order because of deterioration, their lifecycle is completely over.

The software solution can migrate to another hardware system, and it is easily scalable. Basically, it can be used almost forever.

Thirdly, a software solution is a kind of a “combine”; it can replace many devices with different functions and form the network core.

VAS Experts Team

How easier and simpler is it to install soft solutions, compared to hard ones?

The start is definitely easier. Clients may already have a virtualization environment or spare hardware – to which the software may be installed with no physical contact with a vendor.

There are disadvantages as well. As hardware manufacturers are multiple, issues related to specific features of a given gear may emerge during installation. Sometimes software solutions require setup from ground zero upon installation – while a hard’n’soft system can be purchased already set up.

So, the notion of “easier and simpler” is applicable to the installation process. Operations of both types of solutions require pretty equal inputs.

Please tell us about the compatibility with the hardware of various manufacturers. Can clients theoretically face any issues?

Some software products were created for specific platforms. Our product is set to fit an array of gear. Yet technical issues can be emerging.

Prior to installation, we test a platform for its current performance: working servers are very rarely new, usually, they were in use for quite a while. Some features (read – glitches) can be present; a certain component – processor, memory, drives, NIC, motherboard itself – can periodically malfunction.

Can you compare the budgets of VAS Experts solution and a solution from a well-known vendor?

If we consider providers who buy, among the other, used equipment – here our price will be higher, as we offer fresh software with support and integration.

Usually, used equipment is sold with no support. As a rule, it is stated that the equipment had passed a technical test – but in any case, it forfeited the part of its performance. So a provider is left face-to-face with this equipment and accompanying problems; all available solutions are Google search and Internet forums.

If we are comparing our product and new equipment purchase – at the current moment the prices are alike, but in the future, you will save on us, due to three reasons.

  • Accessible (financially as well) tech support.
  • Software continuity: on upgrades, we regard the price of the license a client previously bought.
  • Our solution allows migrating from one hardware to another; we also add new functions constantly.

So the cost of having the use of the solution is to be put into consideration. In regards to our solution, this cost is among the most affordable on the market.

Do you have cases of your clients benefiting from namely the software solution usage?

Yes, and I can divide such cases into three types.

One is fast installation and integration. There were situations when clients needed a solution launch ASAP. The most common reasons are: either the equipment went out of order, or traffic grew unexpectedly. In other words: the situation changed rapidly, so the current configuration is no fit anymore, reasons vary. We can install the software system into any suitable server in literally just one day – and implement it fast.

Two: comfortable and smooth migration. If the task is not urgent (the network expansion goes in stages), we install two working solutions. One operates on the main license, the other one is on the temporary. So we help a client to migrate gradually.

And three: adjustable functionality. As we use processor power, we can add new functions regardless of what a client initially bought. Hard’n’soft systems are often optimized for a specific code and cannot stand the functionality growth. Software solutions’ performance grows with the CPU performance growth.

Are there any tasks a provider is easier to solve with hard’n’soft? If yes – why?

There are, of course, unavoidable niche tasks. For example, a device that will serve as a router or switchboard/multiplexor needs to be installed. In this case, it’s nonsense to install a kind of an intelligent service gateway with a CPU-enabled software solution. Better to take a cheap widely available hard’n’soft that will fit the exact task.

In general: are there any substantial advantages of hardware solutions, that may outweigh the software ones?

If we talk about the network core we currently use – there are named gear players, of course. Part of tasks is delegated to various programmable integrated circuits, so some operations are performed faster or with less energy consumption.

But these solutions age very quickly. I.e. they cannot develop fast enough, because hardware development takes much longer and passes a much bigger number of iterations than soft. In other words, newer software can be released monthly, weekly, or even daily, while newer interpretation of gear is released yearly, or every other year.

On the condition that hardware manufacturers will have massively available and not deteriorating products – it will probably be low-cost and demanded by namely the providers. Like switch-boards. They can be manufactured and, within 10 years, simply firmware-upgraded and patched of detected bugs.

One of the gear solutions’ main advantages is their code is optimized for a specific platform. So they should have fewer software errors related to hardware issues.

Artem Tereshchenko CBDO

What do you think of this market’s further development? New functions to appear, maybe? What is the VAS Experts direction?

Large developers demonstrate shifting from hardware solutions with specialized line cards to CPU-processed solutions. This happens due to CPU development (more cores, higher frequency, and power).

We will continue in the creation of a combined system that may fully cover the provider’s needs for a service gateway. It is routing, QoS packet processing, filtering, collection of statistics, and a subscriber’s session management (authorization, account administration).

The solution is flexible: the provider is free to apply the entire multifunctional solution – as well as only parts of it.

Are there competitors with software solutions? Why are you better?

Of course, they are. We have advantages in:

  • Operational stability. As more than 1000 copies of our solution are already installed, we are sure it is stable. We scrutinize every feedback and work on software performance non-stop.
  • Focusing on providers’ market. We do not disperse on other tasks. We know what issues providers face daily – and we know how to solve’em.
  • Actuality/contemporariness. Our solution supports the most recent versions of CPUs, NICs, etc.
  • Support. We help with implementation and support operations after the purchase.
  • Price. We consider the cost of having the use of the solution adequate. It is not the lowest on the market but remains well-suited for providers.
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