IOS XR is the latest train of Cisco Systems' widely deployed Internetworking Operating System (IOS), used on their high-end carrier-grade routers such as the CRS-1 and the 12000 series.


According to Cisco's product literature, IOS XR shares very little infrastructure with the other IOS trains, and is instead built upon a "preemptive, memory protected, multitasking, microkernel-based operating system". [ [ Cisco IOS XR product literature] ] The microkernel is provided by QNX. [ [ QNX press release] confirming use of their microkernel in IOS XR]

IOS XR aims to provide the following advantages over the earlier IOS trains:

* Improved high availability (largely through support for hardware redundancy and fault containment methods such as protected memory spaces for individual processes and process restartability)
* Better scalability for large hardware configurations (through a distributed software infrastructure and a two-stage forwarding architecture)
* A package based software distribution model (allowing optional features such as multicast routing and MPLS to be installed and removed while the router is in service)
* The ability to install package upgrades and patches (potentially while the router remains in service)
* A web-based GUI for system management (making use of a generic, XML management interface)


IOS XR was announced along with the CRS-1 in May 2004. [ [ Cisco press release] announcing CRS-1 and IOS XR] The first generally available version was 2.0; the first version generally available for the 12000 router series was 3.2. The most recent release is version 3.7, released in June 2008. [ [ Cisco's release notes] for the various IOS XR versions]


External links

* [ Cisco multimedia documentation] covering IOS XR and its supported systems
* [ Cisco reveals it uses QNX] to power its IOS XR software
* [ Cisco Security Advisories] - complete history
* [ Cisco IOS XR Software General Information]
* [ HEAnet's New Network and Working with IOS-XR]

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