First Look: Sun Cobalt Qube

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted January 29, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced its new Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance that's targeted at home offices and small businesses. According to Sun, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance extends secure Internet and intranet services to consumers and power users, and should enable home offices and small businesses to host their own web sites, set up their own e-mail systems, network home or office PCs, and protect their computing environments from Internet threats such as hackers and viruses. The company says that the plug-and-play networking solution includes all of the tools and applications needed to leverage always-on Internet connections and web-enable a home network or small business environment.

The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance is designed to be a complete Internet and intranet server in a box. The company says that the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance can be quickly set up to connect PCs and Macintosh computers in a local area network, thereby enabling small business systems to share files and documents and take advantage of shared resources such as printing and Internet connections. In addition, as broadband use increases throughout the world, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance should enable consumers to leverage these always-on connections to easily host their own web sites or e-mail directly from their home networks.

To ensure protection against Internet security risks such as viruses, hackers, and privacy threats, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance includes a built-in firewall as well as virtual private networking (VPN) support. The firewall can be configured to protect private data while giving users full Internet access. With support for both IPsec and Microsoft PPTP VPN services, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance should enable work-at-home employees or professionals at remote sites to securely access the corporate network from virtually any Windows PC.

The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance should also benefit IT administrators, integrating with the Sun Cobalt Control Station to enable system administrators at corporate headquarters to manage Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliances located at remote sites and branch offices from a single location. Administrators should be able to view the status of each appliance and push software updates to any Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance from the Sun Cobalt Control Station. In addition, auto-provisioning should enable a service provider or corporate headquarters to deliver and install custom-built applications automatically to other Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliances via the Internet, potentially easing administration and management challenges at remote sites and branch office locations.

To help ensure that the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance continues to scale to accommodate the changing needs of small businesses or remote offices, the appliance offers port forwarding, which maps ports and redirects network traffic and enables the network to grow with additional servers while maintaining manageability. In addition, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance now supports seven languages simultaneously, automatically detecting the preferred configuration and displaying the appropriate language using an intuitive web-based interface.

"The advanced features and additions to the new Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance provide customers of all levels of expertise a robust solution for meeting their networking needs," said Vivek Mehra, vice president and general manager of Sun Cobalt server appliances at Sun Microsystems. "The new Sun Cobalt Qube 3 appliance can be used for sharing files, resources, or documents across a network or for hosting a company's e-mail, launching a web site, or serving as a secure gateway to the World Wide Web. It makes it easy to bring the full benefits of Internet computing to anyone, anywhere."

"The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance is a no-fuss network-in-a-box," said Suzy Hoffmann, technology director at The Sanford School, a private school in Hockessin, Delaware. "It is powerful enough to provide secure Internet services including e-mail, web-site hosting, and web access, while maintaining the ease-of-use and reliability that a small private school requires. The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance has enhanced our Internet use-without the hassles and expense associated with other servers. For The Sanford School, the Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance is the ideal blend of performance, usability, and power."

Pricing and Availability
The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance is available now through Sun Microsystems and its existing worldwide sales channels starting at $1149. Trade-in programs also are available. The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance is available through the Sun Store, through most major e-tailers, and a network of Sun Resellers. The software upgrade is free to existing Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance customers over the Internet and also is available as a CD-ROM for shipping and material costs.

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