Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Business Hardware

Low Powered Mini-Server for the Masses 351

Posted by michael
from the smaller-than-a-breadbox dept.
ServerSam writes "Sudhian has a review up on EmergeCore's "IT in a Box" IT100. Designed for small business use, it comes equipped with a Transmeta Crusoe 533MHz, 128MB RAM, 20GB IBM TravelStar, 802.11b Access Point, and boots from a 32MB Flash card. The IT100 is powered by a 60 watt external PSU and is smaller than a PS2."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Low Powered Mini-Server for the Masses

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Transmeta Crusoe 533MHz, 128MB RAM, 20GB IBM TravelStar, 802.11b Access Point, and boots from a 32MB Flash card."

    I think my Cisco router has more behind it...
    • Bah.

      Wait until the nano-itx boards come out. I have a *TINY* pc planned. 1Ghz CPU, DVD and TV tuner included.

      Is that a PC in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

    • Granted, it is a Compaq Contura laptop, but I thought that Transmeta systems were supposed to be conservative on power?!

      • It is a standard PSU. Usually used in the ITX world. Actual consumptionis likely to be lower. While at it you can make the same system from standard components at LinItx.com (using Via instead of Crusoe) for a fraction of the cost.
  • EmergeCore's IT100 runs Linux, but you will never notice as all the server configuration is done through a well designed web interface, called "CoreVista."

    So they have it run Linux but behind a "web interface". I don't get it -- what's wrong with a user interface?
  • I guess that rules out using it as a web server...
  • Must be using one of those portable server thingies.
  • Other than size... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJZQ8 (644168) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:27AM (#7689342) Homepage Journal
    Other than size, I think one of those $199 Walmart Microtel machines would be a better deal...they now have 1300MHz Durons in them. They are a bit skimpy on memory (come with 128MB), but you can buy 512MB of the SDR stuff they use for $50 these days. I have a bunch of them, and they've been flawless!
    • Not just size (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gleef (86) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:43AM (#7689485) Homepage
      The noise level and power usage are also key for this machine. Of course, there are other fanless machines [mini-itx.com], many of them much cheaper than this one. (Note: Not all of the machines at that site are fanless, but many are, check out the Tranquil PC and the Hush). (Also Note: Fanless doesn't equal silent, you still get drive noise and monitor whine, unless you replace those with solid state components)
  • I think... (Score:2, Funny)

    by metamatic (202216)
    ...they're using it to run their web site.
  • Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrostedWheat (172733) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:27AM (#7689349)
    Yes, you can use Linux and other "free" operating systems, but the concept of Linux, and it's "unaccountability" scares most small business owners

    Yes ... because as we all know Microsoft or Apple are completly "accountable" for any errors or damage there OS causes...
    • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kinnell (607819) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:37AM (#7689432)
      Yes ... because as we all know Microsoft or Apple are completly "accountable" for any errors or damage there OS causes...

      What matters is that most people who make business decisions to use commercial software believe that the vendor is liable, and continue to believe it despite any evidence to the contrary, such as "we do not guarantee that this software will do what it is designed to do".

      • They also believe (Score:2, Informative)

        by rm007 (616365)
        What matters is that most people who make business decisions to use commercial software believe that the vendor is liable

        They also believe, or at least behave according to, the old chestnut "no one ever got fired for buying IBM" (substitute well known brand in any technology realted field for "IBM" to adapt this to any category). Those in large organizations don't want to take risks that will jeopardize their careers, but at least they are more likely to have IT departments to make recommendations. In
      • Re:Er... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tabdelgawad (590061) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:55AM (#7690150) Homepage
        The two parent posts reflect conventional wisdom here in slashdot. Unfortunately, they miss the point, which is that even if there is no strict 'legal' liability (and there are reasons to think even this may not be true), there's always some 'effective' liability imposed by business reality.

        For example, suppose TurboTax makes a certain error in filing that affects a certain percentage of its customers, who are then punished with fees/audits by the IRS. If the case is publicized and the error is strictly TurboTax's, could TurboTax really afford to say that they're not liable because of their EULA? What would that do to their sales the following year? And what would consumer recourse be if they used a non-commercial tax package instead of TurboTax? Who would they hit up for their fees and damages?

        Additionally, there's no guarantee that all EULAs would stand a legal test in a liability case. I believe that was what UCITA was all about, strengthening EULAs to limit software liability. If EULAs were always legally biniding, UCITA would probably be unnecessary.

        I don't claim that commercial software vendors will always be liable, but there are formal and informal ways of accountability available with commercial vendors. It's not fair to claim that businesses are being completely irrational in continuing to believe this.
  • by ThogScully (589935) <neilsd@neilschelly.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:27AM (#7689350) Homepage
    Anyone recognize the niche as that of Cobalt, before Sun took them over? Did those do well enough that this can be popular?

    Unfortunately, as an operator of a Cobalt RaQ for many years, I found it to be very limiting once we did figure out how to really use it and how little the custom interfaces allowed, but it was great for people who just wouldn't learn that stuff.

    I hope no one thinks these are patch-proof though,. Our Cobalt needed patches and even with them had trouble avoiding a few compromises since patches were so delayed. Now it runs Debian and I couldn't be happier with the little box.
    -N
    • by danamania (540950) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:36AM (#7689427)
      It's not a bad small out of the way server for the old learning experience. The whole idea of starting admins-in-training on the most minimal hardware instead of having them throw 3GHz PIVs at serving a home site that gets 5 visitors a day just begs for inefficiency down the line.

      I started my site on a 33MHz Quadra. It'd still be using that if I didn't rely on quite a bit of PHP in places. There was no reason to jump up too far, so a PPC601 [danamania.com] was the next machine up.

      What the whole experience has taught me is how to keep things running efficiently by knowing the system well, and remembering never to do stupid things, like post the URL on slashdot. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:27AM (#7689352)
    Funny how PS2 doesn't mean what it used to.
  • just looking at the machine specs it's doubtful that it would be able to handle massive amounts of traffic.

    Like, say, from /. for example?

  • $1395?! Why not just buy a laptop? Or two? It would be (much!) faster, similarly power efficient with an external power supply, could likely boot from CF, could act as an AP, would even have an integrated diplay for debugging... and MUCH more. C'mon folks -- I was hoping something like this would go for $400, not $1400!
    • I think this is supposed to be for people who are too ignorant or too lazy to set up their own servers. If you want to be lazy it is going to cost you .
    • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerteNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:38AM (#7689445)
      Yep, but there is an advantage:
      Think this is going for a server, the real meaning of server is 24*7; so heat is your enemy here ... there is no notebook out there that can manage to have 7 months of uptime with a high cpu usage without burning out or hanging all the time ... Crusoe is a beatifull cold processor. But i agree with you ... this kind of device is for marketroids that wants some big company behind their hard/soft, because they think that is a kind of warranty of profit (like all those assholes using redhat) ... If you have the knowledge *and* the balls to tell the manager that you are going to put home-made hardware in their raqs; it will work as well as any of this closed boxes.
      • by Cthefuture (665326) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:50AM (#7689557)
        Yeah but you could certainly build a VIA mini-itx system for a hell of a lot less and with a faster processor.

        Anyone else notice that Newegg seems to have stopped carrying mini-itx boards? Why is that?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Nice timing. I was on hold with Newegg to place an order when I read your post so I asked them. The order person transfered me to a manager. She said it was because of the huge number of returns. She said returns on RAM, motherboards, and processors was killing them, but returns on the few ITX boards they sold would have killed them if they had kept it up. She said most of the ITX boards they sold came back since the Via boards are so horrible at compatibility. She said the usual comments were "can't
        • I was in RMA hell for 12 weeks with a via-itx. I would go back to it, but bottom feeding ECS said board had been problems and they gave me a P-4 barebones with my old hard drive back. VIA - itx still have a few kinks to work out on the itx line and their linux support and drivers still needs help - just look on the via-arena. A different video than a C-media or whatever problematic video chip they attach to the board that would work seamlessly with XFree86 would be nice and why bundle a winmodem with a d
      • by GrenDel Fuego (2558) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:53AM (#7689582)
        I think the main problem here is the slashdot headline, not the product itself.

        At $1,395 this is hardly a "mini-server for the masses". To me that implies personal use. This is the mini-server for small businesses.
    • $1395?! Why not just buy a laptop?

      Consider the cost of the time spent configuring the laptop or PC to work as an office server and add that to the cost. Keep in mind that most people aren't Unix experts and even the ones that are will likely have to spend several hours reading HOWTOs and man pages before they can get everything working. The advantage of one of these devices is that you plug it in, turn it on and it just works. That means, you can go back to doing profitable work sooner.

      I have no dou

  • until i realized i didn't have the money, i was going to build a mini-itx system to serve nfs, do NAT, pppoe, serve ssh into my local network, and some other things. i had everything planned out, just no money.. :(
  • Sounds like it might be what I've been looking for. I've been wanting to "build" (or buy) a small e-mail server. I just don't like the idea of running a complete PC based Linux Server just for e-mail for myself. Waste of power consumption, big foot print, etc.. I'd like something about the size of my cable modem that uses very little power. I have been look at these [soekris.com]. Anyone know of any other ideas?
    • by metlin (258108) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:38AM (#7689442) Journal
      Not really. Its a Transmeta 533. Even one of those el-cheapo $199 things from Walmart or an old Celeron or P3 would give this thing a run for its money.

      At $1150 (?) and odd, it really isn't worth it. You're better off building your own mail server from scratch. Cheaper and better than this.
      • Not really.

        Not really what?

        Even one of those el-cheapo $199 things from Walmart or an old Celeron or P3 would give this thing a run for its money.

        Understandable. And at $1,150 (I couldn't get to the site to the see the price) - it's not worth it. But the small size [linitx.com] interests me. I don't want to have another Desktop case or Mid Tower in my house. I have enough of them already.

        • I meant to say, not really a good idea. It was in response to you saying that it sounded like something like what you might have been looking for.

          The thing is that if you get the components, you can build one of these smaller ones yourself for not more than $500 - we have a space constraint in our lab and do this all the time. Works wonders and is cheap, and keeps the profs happy :)

          In fact, I think its much higher - $1395 or something, which is *waaaaay* more than what this thing is really worth.

          Come on,
          • Come on, its easier to build a _small_ and _compact_ 1 GhZ celeron with a better config for about $400-500 with off the shelf components than shell out that kinda money for this thing.

            I don't doubt it. And as I pointed out in my first post - I have been looking at a way to do it myself [soekris.com] ... and as I pointed out in my second post, I have not yet been able to get to the site to see the price. I wasn't aware that it was "$1395 or something"
    • Some really nifty quiet machines at nOrhTec [norhtec.com]. Their MicroServers are smaller than any cable modems I've seen.

      Lots of small (but bigger than the MicroServer), low power machines at Mini-ITX [mini-itx.com]
  • Ripping off (Score:3, Informative)

    by MikeyG79 (225212) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:32AM (#7689390)
    $1400.. I'll build my own mini tower or go out and buy something much more powerful... like a 2.2GHz w/ 1gig

    The things people get ripped off with these days.
    • Re:Ripping off (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wwest4 (183559) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:48AM (#7689535)
      you don't need a 2+ GHz P4 to run common net svcs. you need a cold-running reliable box, preferably with no fans or drive spindles to wear out.

      for small businesses, appliances make a lot of sense. they just want stuff to work and be simple to understand from a high level - they don't want a custom hack job (as fun as that may be).

      these boxes (along with the slew of thin client appliances out there) often run open-source software, and not all are as expensive as this baby. i, for one, welcome our black box toaster overlords - at least at the mom&pop level.
  • by Slider451 (514881) <[slider451] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:36AM (#7689423)
    Without at least RAID 1 (mirrored drives) I never consider a hardware device a server. A PC running backend applications with no redundancy is a bad idea in a busy business.
    • by wwest4 (183559) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:43AM (#7689481)
      for a small business, fault tolerance is having a spare appliance complete w/ flash image.

      you wouldn't be smart to use an appliance like this for file serving applications, but for DC/AD/NIS/DNS/BOOTP/DHCP, static web content, it would be a good choice for a small business if you skip the HDD and use a bigger CF card. no moving parts, longer useful lifetime and poor-man's N+1. perfect for a no-nonsense small bus.
      • For small business, I dont see a reason why you would not use raid-1.
        #1. You can set it up yourself, with minimal costs, and skills.
        #2. If a drive fails, you have no problems. No time/cost to you for backups.
        #3. You could build a server for much cheaper than these premade "small cheap" ones.
        #4. Dont go for the trendy small things so you save costs, or if you do, build your own and build your own box for some creative input.

        I realize that not everyone has amazing computer skills, but to setup a

        • Of course you need backups! Even if it's just some cdrs or a couple tapes for the crucial stuff.

          Earthquake, Fire, Flood, Theft, etc.
          All these will require off site backups to get your business going again. Else you're pretty fucked.
        • by Slider451 (514881) <[slider451] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:57AM (#7689614)
          Good points. However:

          With raid-1, you dont even have to make backups.

          That's a common misconception with RAID. Redundant disks only protect you from hardware failure. You still need to make backups to recover from human failure. If Bob in accounting deletes your Quickbooks files, they're gone. I just had to restore a giant spreadsheet from tape a couple days ago, onto a RAID 5 system.

          RAID won't save you from Bob.
          • Hahaha...well i dont mean NO backups...

            I meant no excessive amount of backups of your entire system, in case you need to restore all your services.

            And we are talking small business here...you dont have Bob in accounting, you the boss are also the accountant.

            And if you did have Bob, you would fire him.

            For big business, you should have appropriate enterprise content management which will not let you delete important files like that without permissions, but will let you update a new "version" of the fi
            • raid-1 won't save you from your 400W power supply frying, it won't save you from you replacing your CPU fan every 10 months, and it won't provide total n+1. why use raid-1 when the MTBF of the other components is much lower?
              • why use raid-1 when the MTBF of the other components is much lower?

                Because it's much easier and quicker to recover from a PSU or fan failure.

                I just replaced a PSU in a PC in the office this week. Downtime - less than two hours from failure to fully functional, including the travel and shopping time for a replacement unit.

                If this had been a server hard disk, with no redundancy... we're talking several hours and no sleep until it's done.

                If you can't afford a hot spare for your server, RAID is your best f
                • it depends on how exotic the psu or fan is and how good your backups are. i think the original point is missed anyway - mom an pop don't have any desire or clue when it comes to swapping out components. they just want a new black box to replace the broken black box.
          • Redundant disks only protect you from hardware failure. You still need to make backups to recover from human failure.

            RAID alos wont protect from...

            Viruses/Trogens that wipe the file-system.
            Bad memory sticks that cause file-system corruption.
            Flaky RAID controllers that randomly screw up a stripe now and then.
            A netowrk card that sends bad packets and causes the filesystem to bork.
            Bugs in your uber-filesystem that cause corruption. (NTFS I'm looking at *YOU*)
            Power spikes that go through tour surge protector
        • You can set it up yourself, with minimal costs, and skills.

          1) most of the neighborhood kids working on the local widget shop's computer do not have experience using or maintaining hw or sw raid systems.

          2) if a drive fails, you have to know about it and no how to replace it.

          3) no shit, but ma and pa can't send it back the vendor when you break the cupholder or fry a drive because they have no clue

          4) don't tell me what to do, and btw it has nothing to do with trends, but common sense and experience w

    • Without at least RAID 1 (mirrored drives) I never consider a hardware device a server

      I was going to suggest that this thing could use an external drive and software RAID. But then I noticed that this brand new design has USB 1.1 and not Firewire or even USB 2.0. What a crying shame; you'd think for $1,400 they could have done that.
  • by dimer0 (461593) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:39AM (#7689451)
    Warning: mysql_select_db(): Too many connections in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/php/functions.p hp on line 13

    Warning: mysql_select_db(): A link to the server could not be established in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/php/functions.p hp on line 13

    Warning: mysql_query(): Too many connections in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 167

    Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 167
    could not execute query
    Warning: mysql_num_rows(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 171

    Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 174

    Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 174

    Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 174

    Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /var/www/htdocs/www.emergecore.com/index.html on line 174

  • by LazloToth (623604) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:46AM (#7689518)

    Sure, I know that not everyone can build his own box and load it with Linux. But for this money, I'm thinking you could do pretty well with a Duron, a couple of ATA 133 drives, and a cheap 1U box. If you can run a web interface such as the one described here, you probably could do alright with Webmin, too. And think how much more useful and trustworth a thing you'd have.

    Ah, well - - aren't the do-it-yourselfers among us lucky?
    • I don't think you understand how ridiculous this really is. People only need to save space like that when they're on a small boat, in a car, or something like that. You can get (aka, I just got) a Gigabyte nForce2 motherboard with everything but video onboard (including gigE, 1394, ATA RAID, SATA RAID, USB2) for $110. And an Athlon XP 2500+ for $100 or so. All told I paid about $240 shipped. $200 will get you a ~160GB hard drive; get two of them so you can mirror, and you're up to $650. 512MB of DDR333 is $80 or so, $730. A DVD-RW ($110) and a decent case with 400W PS ($100) bring us up to $940. Floppy drive (for emergencies), cheapie video card, and cheap keyboard and mouse will round this out to a complete server system with RAID-protected data, a backup solution for the data which absolutely positively must be protected and taken offsite (most people do not have data files larger than 4.7GB) and not just that, it has enough processor and memory to do probably anything you want to do in a small business. I stress that this is a complete solution; you could spend much less and get much less which would still be plenty for most people.

      Too much work for you? Go to geeks.com and pick up some refurb'd HP desktops for $500 each, with 17" monitors, CDRW, DVD-ROM, 120-160GB disks, keyboard, mouse, fucken speakers fer chrissakes... and a ~2.2 GHz celery chip.

      The fact is that the vast majority of people have space to put a full size computer for a server. It's only in very unusual environments where space matters so much that your only server must be smaller than a shoebox. Aside from such special cases, assuming anyone buys this device, it will mostly be people who don't understand computers, and think it looks really neat.

  • by ewwhite (533880) * on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:48AM (#7689544) Homepage
    The briQ is a much pimper... :) And just as expensive....

    http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/products/briQ/in tro.shtml [terrasoftsolutions.com]

  • Small Servers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr_lithic (563105) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @10:51AM (#7689566) Homepage Journal
    When did size become a massive concern for people buying servers?

    I thought cooling, data transfer rates and reliability (redundant PSU's etc) were the main considerations. Processor speed and storage capacity are definitely up there as well.

    But Size?

    I don't understand

    • I think home servers are becoming a bigger deal. Also small businesses who don't have a computer room.

      I have a home server, but I just put the thing WAY up hi on a shelf and it works :)
  • A system with only 128MB or RAM is NOT a server in today's world. Ten years ago maybe but not today.
    • Re:128MB? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bigdavex (155746) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:16AM (#7689787)

      A system with only 128MB or RAM is NOT a server in today's world. Ten years ago maybe but not today.

      Now there's some exageration. RAM was about $50/MB in 1993, making 128MB $6,400.
    • Depends on what you have to serve, and to how many users. For a departmental print server, or for hosting the intranet for a small company it may well be plenty.
      Whereas for something that's exposed to a slashdotting... um... :-)
  • TigerDirect (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CmdrTostado (653672)
    $500 [tigerdirect.com] for something similar, I suppose, but didn't read the manufacturer's specs because there site is down.
  • by cerebralsugar (203167) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:03AM (#7689667)
    Think about it:

    1.) It includes 802.llb. How strange. Does anybody really feel a wireless server is a good thing? With 5 or 6 clients on an 802.llb network, things other than simple, tiny file transfers are going to start to slow down alot.

    2.) Crusoe Processor - I mean, why not a celeron? Heat issues? Power consumption? Why use a processor intended for mobile applications in a server??

    3.) The price - this thing should not break a grand. I work at a fairly major (Fortune 1000) computer reseller, and If I had a small office customer call me looking for an inexpensive server, I could sell them an IBM X series 205 for $769. It has a P4 2.4 GHZ and 256 megs of RAM. Its an honest to god server class machine.

    Unless you have 8 guys with notebooks that travel and need a traveling server, what is the point of this? And for the price, if you did have those 8 guys, you could jsut have a 9th notebook, and have better specs, AND be battery powered.

  • CF for boot? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jargoone (166102)
    Looks very cool, but I don't understand the need for CF card for booting. I can understand if you used a read-only medium to boot from, but this has a hard disk. Is there something in the architecture that creates this need?
  • for development you'd be better off just using any spare PC -- more flexibility, cheaper.

    Why would someone use this rather than buying hosting from someone else? Obviously there are advantages to hosting your own site, but I don't think this machine particularly exposes them. Is the idea for momandpop.com to serve their site over their cablemodem or business DSL connection using this thing? They'd be much better off buying their hosting from someone else.

    If bigwebdevcompany.com needs a dumb, low-power

  • I built a computer custom with the following specs: Athlon mobo w/ Nvidia chipset Athlon XP 2500+ 350w PSU 512MB PC2100 DDR RAM 40GB Maxtor 7200rpm drive ATI 128MB video card ..all for $450. These specs blow away the ones of the 'mini-server'. Why would I pay 3x as much for wimpier h/w?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I run a headless embedded server at my house, which uses 4 Watts of power (verified with my Kill-O-Watt meter). It has less processing power (equivalent to a Pentium 133MHz)

    I purchased the device from embeddedx86.com [embeddedx86.com]. The model is TS-5400. You can see a picture of my finished server here [virosa.net] and here [virosa.net]. (It's in a boring-as-hell grey box... with a CD next to it for comparison - it's to the left of the access point)

    It runs Apache (with PHP extensions), NAT masquerading, and provided me with a great introductio
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @11:45AM (#7690056)
    at a cost of $1,395.

    So I can get a tiny underpowered computer for $1395. Big deal. I can get a better computer for a lot less (even if I shell out a little extra for one of those small cube cases and M.B.) And at that price this toy is underpowered in every way, including hard drive space and memory. And a real computer will be less expensive in the long run, even after it's expected life this toy's power savings doesn't come close to justifying the price. Who can it be aimed at? The individual isn't gong to pay this and needs more anyway (or thinks he needs, if he thinks he needs a server at all), and can likely spare the space a single small format PC would take up as well as this. No large cluster of these is likely to be built (certainly not at this price), people who need lots of servers because of space will use Blade systems (and Google will continue to prove these are other low cost but amazingly functional approaches).

  • And not the current intel style one - which is just a file/webserver.

    I want to be able to browse a SuperPDA webapp all on one small wearable computer.
  • Yeah, it's expensive, and the typical slashdotter could do it cheaper with Open Source. The average small business can't, and will pay more for convenience. The real explosion will come as prices drop, and these features roll into your cable modem. My cable company already offers no-brainer wireless for a 'mere' $14/month. Within a year, I'll bet they offer data storage and some of these other features as well.
  • Does anyone remember the Rebel Netwinder? That was cooler than this but they still went bust.
  • I've setup $550 SnapServer NAS devices for a few small offices. They have built-in remote access and are very secure: They run a stripped down Unix that only allows Java apps to execute.

    Of course, that only functions to serve files, but it works very reliably.
  • As a small business there might be a handful of modern boxes in the office/home to be used for word processing and accounting (maybe dozens in a larger small business ... but that's getting to be medium or large business ... but I digress). So why would this particular tiny box be useful?

    Cost: Well instead of buying a handful of modern boxen, buy some cheaper, slower models (800-900 Mhz) and with the money saved buy a nice high powered (+1.8 Ghz) box dedicated to the purpose of the "server in a box". And
  • speed not required (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sir_cello (634395) on Thursday December 11, 2003 @01:02PM (#7690829)

    Firstly, disregard all of the useless comments about "it's not fast enough", these come from techie speed freaks who ignore the economics in favour of the sports-car. Most businesses don't want nor need sports-cars.

    I have a mini-itx at 500mhz running BSD: it handles 512K dsl + bluetooth + 802.11b+ + samba + nat + firewall + print server + http + everything else quite well - most of the time it idles at 10% CPU. Sure I could use an overblown 576ghz-latest-pentium, but it's just simply not necessary. Power consumption is also low. It's a perfect home server. Kernel build times are pretty good as well. It also hosts development environments for 4 web sites.

    I could have have purchased a fast machine, but what's the point ? I have a 2ghz desktop for power-use. In fact, I now wish that I'd gone for a smaller form factor. Even the mini-itx is too big: looks like a DVD player. PC/104 or smaller form factor would be perfect.

    Also, ignore the comments about "price": sure you could get a cheaper and faster commodity pc: but then you have to pay for the techie to install and configure the OS and enable everything else. What this appliance is offering is an out-of-the box solution, and you definitely pay for the added value. They're not in business to give things away :-). Most of the people hanging out in slashdot are competent (like me) to build platforms from scratch: but a vast majority of businesses don't have nor can afford nor even need to pay for that kind of approach.

  • What is this crap? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shyster (245228) <brackett@NOsPAM.ufl.edu> on Thursday December 11, 2003 @04:03PM (#7692643) Homepage
    Okay, so for $1400, I'm getting about $300 or less of parts, a single point of failure for my entire network, and shoddy software.

    Okay, so it's pretty and unassuming...looks just like a typical SOHO router. Big whoop. With the mass of Ethernet cables and power cords behind it, it's looks won't garner any awards I'd reckon.

    The Low setting only blocks file sharing and proxy from the outside, but is the only Basic Mode setting with which you are able to run the VPN service.

    That makes a whole lot of sense...I suppose that folks who want a VPN don't deserve a firewall too?

    You can run multiple domains on the IT100, allowing for easy office setups where the hard drive space is shared between multiple companies.

    Yeah...I've heard a lot of clamoring for that feature in the SOHO market. Glad they decided that was worthy of the cut....

    ...you are not allowed to set folder-level permissions for users on the IT100 server. However, every user has a folder that will be private to them on the network, and there is a separate public folder for all users.

    A whole public folder, huh? And no folder or file level permissions? I suppose that granular Read/Write/Modify/etc. permissions are out of the question too then? Now I see why you may want multiple domains....

    We were initially thrown off on how to connect to the IT100 for file sharing, as it was not accepting our logins. We quickly discovered that when logging in, we needed to include the full domain username, meaning the username "colin" became "colin@mydomain.com".

    Does this mean it won't actually validate logins on say...login? Or that the reviewer couldn't figure it out? So much for replacing a domain controller, I guess....

    Your username is limited to 19 characters, so if you have a long domain name, you may be in for a shortened username.

    Okay, Bob, you're username is bob@sub.domain.local^H. Guess I'll have to fire Richard.

    You could potentially run into problems where you have an office with ten employees, but only two people in that office should be able to read the sensitive files you want to share; you cannot set individual permissions for the folders. However, you can use file sharing from your local Windows/Linux computer and allow those users to properly access the files on your machine, so there is a work around.

    Yep, it's a good thing I spent $1400 on a server so that I can resort to peer-to-peer networking. Won't this make backing up and finding files fun again?

    VPN allows me to connect to my machine on my network without opening up my computers to the rest of the world by assigning them a public IP address.

    Yeah, I guess since the firewall in this thing sucks ass, you would be opening your desktops to the rest of the world....

    The web server was another cool feature added to the IT100 and would be great for sharing pictures with family and friends, or documents and other work information with business partners....this Apache server supports dynamic content such as PHP and CGI.

    I know I always recommend running your dynamic content webserver on your domain controller and fileserver. Especially when your firewall (which is on the same box) sucks.

    When it crashed, we did not have to do any maintenance, as it rebooted itself after 2 minutes. Normal file sharing went off without a hitch; it was only under the heavy traffic from encoding high quality MP3s that we were able to get the IT100 to crack. Again, you can tell by the system specs that the IT100 is not designed to be a heavy-duty server, and if it were, you would be paying five-times as much.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

Working...