Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Chris Colosimo, SmartBear Blog, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Yeshim Deniz

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 Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,