Selena Frye over at TechRepublic talks about an interesting technology from Cisco called APX (Application eXtension Platform), made up of a hardware card, modified Linux software that runs on the card and a program for software developers.
The AXP is a card that goes into your Cisco router and that card runs a hardened version of Linux, customized by Cisco. So, you aren’t running Linux on your current Cisco router CPU, RAM, and Flash or in the IOS. You are running Linux on a card that is inserted into the router.
Once you have this card and the Linux OS, you can then run third-party applications on that platform. Think about that for a minute. What if you could run a protocol analyzer like Ethereal or an IPS like SNORT “in your router?” What if you could run WAN Compression, performance monitoring, and network management software ‘in your router?” Wow — that would be amazing!
The AXP card, a standard network module (NME) or AIM card, goes in the Cisco ISR Routers (1841, 2800, and 3800 series) and has its own memory, CPU, and Flash HD (and GB Ethernet in the case of the NME). As for the specs:
AXP has its own Linux CLI, error messages, debugging, and virtualization capabilities. It can run applications in various languages — C, Python, Perl, Java. You can even read and write router configuration through APIs and receive info about the status of the router. An application running in the AXP could know if the router was taking errors on the serial interface.