Нескоколько интересных цитат их официального документа What is Cisco IOS XE?:

In IOS XE, IOS 15.0 runs as a single daemon within a modern Linux operating system. Additional system functions now run as additional, separate processes in the host OS environment.

• Multi-Core CPUs and SMP:

Running IOS and other applications as separate processes also enables load balancing the multi-core CPU, allowing each process to use a different core. IOSd within the IOS XE environment supports multiple threads and multi-core CPUs.

• Control Plane and Data Plane Separation:

IOS XE introduces an opportunity to enable teams to now build drivers for new Data Plane ASICs outside the IOS instance and have them program to a set of standard APIs which in turn enforces Control Plane and Data Plane processing separation.
IOS XE accomplishes Control Plane / Data Plane separation through the introduction of the Forwarding and Feature Manager (FFM) and its standard interface to the Forwarding Engine Driver (FED). FFM provides a set of APIs to Control Plane processes. In turn, the FFM programs the Data Plane via the FED and maintains forwarding state for the system. The FED is the instantiation of the hardware driver for the Data Plane and is provided by the platform.

• Platform Abstraction:

Since, historically, IOS has served as an Operating System as well as providing the key Routing Infrastructure, there has always been an aspect of Platform Dependent (PD) and Platform Independent (PI) code within IOS. IOS XE allows the platform dependent code to be abstracted from a single monolithic image. By moving drivers outside of IOS, IOS XE enables a more purely PI-focused IOS process. This provides a more efficient software delivery model for both the core IOS team, as well as platform developers, since the software can be developed, packaged and released independently.

• IOS XE CLI Differences:

The “show process cpu” is changed to reflect the various process running along with IOSd in the linux environment. This command now displays a detailed description of IOS and non-IOS processes across all CPU cores. Adding the “detailed process iosd” keyword, displays the CPU utilization statistics by the IOSd process across all CPU cores.
Similarly, “show process memory” displays memory utilization of the entire system. Adding the “detailed process iosd” keyword, displays the memory consumed by the IOSd process.

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