IOS

The classical IOS is a monolithic kernel that runs all of the necessary modules in the same memory
space. This means that if something happens to the routing engine or the LED indicator, it can cause
the whole IOS kernel to crash if it runs out of memory. That may have been okay years ago but
today’s mission critical networks can’t afford to have a rogue process bringing down an entire
chassis switch.

To resolve above issue Cisco’s software engineers, rebuild the IOS CLI on a more robust platform
known as IOS-XE

IOS-XE

IOS XE runs as a system daemon on a “modern Linux platform.” Cisco also abstracted the system
functions out of the main kernel and into separate processes. That means that if one of them goes
belly up it won’t take the core kernel with it. One of the other benefits of running the kernel as a
system daemon is that you can now balance the workload of the processes across multiple processor
cores.

IOS-XR

IOS XR is what the Mirror Universe version of IOS would look like. Much like IOS XE, IOS XR
does away with the monolithic kernel and shared memory space of IOS Classic. XR uses an OS
from QNX to serve as the base for the IOS functions. XR also segments the ancillary process in IOS
into separate memory spaces to prevent system crashes from an errant bug. XR is aimed at the
larger service provider platforms like the ASR and CRS series of routers. You can see that in the
way that XR can allow multiple routing protocol processes to be executed at the same time in
different memory spaces. That’s a big key to the service provider.

What makes IOS XR so different from IOS Classic? That lies in the configuration method. While
the CLI may resemble the IOS that you’re used to, Instead of making live config changes on a live
system, the running configuration is forked into a separate memory space. Once you have created
all the changes that you need to make, you have to perform a sanity check on the config before it
can be moved into live production.

Hope this answers your queries

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