Good evening, 54.224.109.48.
Today is monday the 24th of July 2017. The time is 02:34:45 and it's week number 30.

(2009-01-30) We turn to Unix for better security!

The ERICADE Network started as a 100% Windows operation in 2000. In may 2008 we replaced the aging PC running as a mailserver with a real server (HP Proliant). We also switched from Exchange 2007 on Windows 2003 to Kerio Mailserver on Linux. This has worked out very well. Yesterday the trusty ISA Server 2006 router box was honorably discharged after doing a good job keep the network online. In my opinion Isa Server is one of the best things to ever come out of Redmond.

However, we wanted a solution based on hardware meant to be on 24/7. The solution was an Alix-box. This weird contraption is a stripped down PC server with no movable parts. Being a i386-system, it can run a variety of operating systems. We choose FreeBSD, a very reliable and secure flavor of Unix. The main caveat with an "embedded" PC like the Alix is that you have no display and no keyboard. The box is stripped to the bones and only have the exact amount of circuitry to do what it was born to do: kick ass and take names. So upgrading it means using a serial cable or reflashing its compact flash "hard drive". This can be a challenge for someone used to work with keyboard, mouse and screen.

The box was successfully connected yesterday night and hit the ground running. It went so fast that the monitoring didn't even register any interruption at all. The Alix box solution will give us an even higher up time, better security and a vastly decreased power consumption. It does the job asking for no more than 6 watts of power. That's about half an energy saver light bulb. Oh and did I mention it has no movable parts? That means no noisy fan. My ears love this little box already...

If you're a tech geek like me, look at this little board of fun:
http://www.pcengines.ch/alix2d3.htm

Want a turn key solution based on an Alix? Check this out:
http://www.wisper.se/shop2/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=264

And to be fair, Alix is not the only show in embedded city:
http://www.soekris.com/products.htm

//Stripecat

Posted: 2009-01-30 by TEN Converter
Changed: 2009-04-04 by Erik Zalitis

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