White-Box Server Shows Its True Color

By Patricia Fusco | Posted March 12, 2004

Were it not such a shocking shade of lime green, Greencomputer Innovation's PowerElf II would be considered just another white-box server solution produced by yet another value-added reseller. But increases in small business IT spending levels is a driving force behind white-box server sales — which is good news for white-box assemblers because small businesses are their primary market.

Research indicates that 46 percent of all white-box servers are sold to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Another 21 percent of white-box server sales come from businesses with 21 to 100 employees. This means that two-thirds of white-box servers sales come from small businesses with 100 employees or fewer.

Small businesses that tend to buy no name white-box servers, rather than popular brand name networking systems, do so because low prices directly influence their buying decisions. As more and more value-added resellers like Greencomputer Innovations and EmergeCore Networks — known if its IT-In-A-Box server line — come to market with inexpensive server systems, more and more small businesses are likely to leverage the technology.

Save Some Green
Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Greencomputer Innovation makes professional-grade servers for small- and medium-sized businesses. This week, the company released PowerElf II, a line of small businesses servers designed to handle Internet sharing, Web and e-mail services, print and file sharing functions, firewall, anti-spam protection, VPN (define), intrusion detection, remote administration, anti-virus scanning and a multitude of other server functions — all in one pre-configured package.

Tyler Monroe, Greencomputer Innovation chief of business development, said the PowerElf II enables nearly any business to utilize all the functionality and protection of traditional computing solutions, without the high purchase price or on-going maintenance costs typically associated with mainstream server vendors.

"With a proven history of rock-solid reliability and an unbeatable total cost of ownership, PowerElf has long been the best friend of SMB," Monroe said. "With the new PowerElf II we've deployed a broadened and integrated solution-set with many hardware upgrades. While the unit is highly sophisticated and manages an incredible array of functionality, the user is not required to possess any special technical skills."

Greencomputer Innovation's PowerElf II Server for SMBsElfin Magic
PowerElf II pricing starts at $1,899 and can customized to fit different business specifications. The servers are powerful enough to handle hundreds of client connections and can be implemented in schools, small- and medium- sized businesses or even remote office environments.

The PowerElf II runs off from a 2 GHz Intel processor, options for memory range from 256 megabytes to 2 gigabytes, and hard drive options range from 40 GB to 250 GB. The unit has one high-speed serial port, a SVGA console port for connecting a monitor, along with standard keyboard and parallel ports.

Built-to-order options include configuring the device with a RAID controller (define) or an ultra2 SCSI (define) for making take backups. Two optional tape drives are also available, adding either 66 GB or 120 GB of extra storage space.

The PowerElf II comes with a 3Com Ethernet network interface card standard, and can be configured to connect with almost any flavor of broadband access, including DSL, cable modem, fractional T1 feed, ISDN, or even wireless and satellite systems.

The PowerElf II uses open-source software to keep operating costs down. For Web services, the PowerElf II runs Apache Web server software with support for CGI, Perl, PHP and MySQL scripts. Squid Object Web cache is used to keep the data flowing. E-mail server software covers a standard array of protocol support — SMTP (define), POP3 (define) or IMAP(define). The device uses LDAP (define) for building light-duty directories. Spam filters come standard, but anti-virus systems for e-mail and file serving are optional.

For security, the PowerElf II features stateful packet inspection at the firewall, port-forwarding capabilities, and NAT (define) for managing inbound and outbound data traffic. The PowerElf comes with standard log reports and Snort IDS — for figuring out if someone has been snooping around your small business network. The PowerElf is now available online direct from Greencomputer Innovations.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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