Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Vaibhaw Pandey, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, 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
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, 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 buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, 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.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...