Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

EmergeCore's IT in a Box

Linux servers made easy

EmergeCore's president and CEO, Dave Brown, learned that in the ISP business, reliability and value were keys to success for his customers. That's why he chose Linux as the operating system to power his IT in a Box IT-100. The IT-100 is a "Swiss Army Knife" of Linux servers and services. The small-footprint server appliance functions as a firewall and router for your office LAN with an integrated four-port 10/100 Ethernet hub and wireless gateway. Additionally, the IT-100 offers a full suite of Linux-powered services, including Web and e-mail.

Easy Administration

As you read in LinuxWorld Magazine every month, more and more people are turning to Linux to provide business solutions - but there's one small problem. They must go through a learning curve that is intimidating for many familiar with using other operating systems and software. Fear no longer, the IT-100 makes implementing a Linux server and other services very easy. EmergeCore's biggest value is that they have done the heavy lifting for you with respect to assembling a complete Linux infrastructure package including file sharing, Web server, mail server, firewall, and wireless gateway to name but a few. They then pair that with a central Web interface that even a naïve user could use to configure the server. Initially you configure the device via the included crossover cable connected to your PC or laptop's network card. Once configured the device can be managed from the local area network from any Web browser.

Feature Rich

Naming all the features available on the small IT-100 is a substantial task as the unit is more than a simple network server. Besides the Web server, e-mail, firewall, and wireless gateway the IT-100 offers many additional features. Some of the most notable are:
  • E-mail features: IT in a Box mail server offers both POP and IMAP mail with virus-scanning abilities. The virus definitions for the e-mail server can be downloaded manually or set to download during a regular intervals daily, weekly, or monthly. Also, besides the ability to scan mail for viruses, the IT-100 also allows for the enablement of server-side spam filtering through SpamCop.
  • Web features: IT in a Box does offer the ability to host Web sites, and for a small business with relatively light traffic it's probably a good choice. Domains can be configured to point right to IT in a Box whether you have a top-level domain or want to use a dynamic DNS service like TZO.com. IT in a Box can help you provide a public face via a Web site with no problem. Besides serving Web pages, IT in a Box can function as a proxy server to seamlessly cache and filter Web content to your LAN. And the add-ons don't stop there: the Web site builder tools come with a wizard that allows you to set up a Web presence through a template and wizard system.
  • Miscellaneous features: Besides the features I have already mentioned, IT-100 also offers features that some advanced users may find useful. The ability to set up a VPN to the IT-100 allows remote access through a secure tunnel. Back-up and restore faculties are provided to restore the box to default settings or to back up all data on the box to an attached USB device.

Excellent Value

It's important to realize the true value of the IT-100. Not just in terms of the affordable price, but also the actual long-term savings you will realize from such a system.
  • Labor: There is a short learning curve for self-administration, or companies can hire one of EmergeCore's partners to install the device. Either solution is more cost effective than keeping a full-time IT person. The simplicity of the IT-100 allows tasks to be accomplished quickly, keeping bills for IT services low.
  • Consolidated device: One factor to consider when buying IT infrastructure is that multi-use devices can have a number of benefits. First, a device such as IT in a Box will take up much less room than having multiple devices, and it will consume less power.
  • Uptime: I have been testing the IT in a Box IT-100 for over a month with zero downtime. I have been able to configure the device in minutes when I wanted to add a forwarded port or e-mail account, and I am able to do so through a menu-driven interface. The only time I have taken the device down was to load system updates, which is a simple procedure that requires a reboot. Otherwise, I've been able to use the IT-100 without failure despite heavy Internet traffic.
If your time is valuable, your business relies on access to the Internet, and you don't require a complex setup, I believe you would be hard pressed to find a cheaper solution when you factor in the time associated with set-up and administration.

Areas for Improvement

For the most part I found little to complain about with respect to the IT-100; however, I ran into trouble acquiring a signal from my cable modem. If the cable modem dropped signal my only way to get the IT-100 back online was via a reboot. Also, I noticed that despite the presence of a parallel port there was no print server available on the IT-100. This seems to be one of the key functions I would like to see added to the box. Otherwise it's hard to complain about the package, it works well out of the box and configuration is a breeze.

This isn't so much an area for improvement as a word of caution: if you are looking for a highly customizable solution, this isn't the solution for you. While you can configure most any aspect of the IT-100 with ease, it's definitely not a customizable solution like you might find with a Linux distribution and an Intel server.

Summary

The IT-100 is an ideal solution for a small office with anywhere from 2 to 75 users. Besides being easy to use, the IT-100 is very inexpensive - you could run all your IT services from a central box for $1,395. On top of that, this is the beginning of an expanding product line that in the future will include more storage and most likely other enhancements to the base unit. I've seen very few products that offer all the advantages of Linux with an extremely easy and intuitive interface, but once I test drove the IT in a Box IT-100, I knew that any small business user could benefit from Linux with a minimal amount of hassle.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...