First Look: 1GHz PowerElf Server

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted March 19, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

Greencomputer Innovation announced its new 1GHz PowerElf server appliance for small businesses, schools and branch offices. According to the company, the product provides an advance in processing power as well as new software features for network administrators. Also, the device is designed to be easy to setup so anyone with limited technical knowledge may be able to install it and have it operating in about 15 minutes.

PowerElf features include cross platform file and print sharing, web and email server, virtual hosting capabilities, firewall security, caching and proxy services, and, VPN server for remote networking and administration. New software features including mail server/file anti-virus scanning, content filtering, service controls, advanced system logs, and port forwarding along.

Greencomputer says that its PowerElf may be administered from any Windows, Macintosh or Linux computer inside the network or remotely over a secure 128-bit encrypted connection. The web-based management interface should allow an administrator to manage all features and functions via a GUI. Advanced system administrators can administer advanced server functions from the command console via secure SSH protocol, instead of using telnet.

Customers can choose from a range of options and upgrades depending on the requirements of their business. The PowerElf comes standard with 128 MB of RAM and a single 40GB drive. The unit may be customized with either single or disk mirrored drives up to 100GB, and the RAM can be upgraded up to 512MB. All PowerElfs now come standard with the 1GHz processor.

Features included on the new PowerElf:

Advanced Diagnostics - Provides detailed information about the server: status of the RAID system, remaining hard drive space, memory usage, remote connection logs, cache, web access logs, SCSI device diagnostics, and Ethernet network information.

Port Forwarding - Port Forwarding through the manager should allow for quick and easy forwarding of services through the PowerElf's browser based manager.

Logging - The PowerElf's logging features should allow administrators to view all logs including: mail logs, web access logs, security logs, user web access logs, print logs and more. Logs can also be searched for specific entries and can also be highlighted to make searching logs much easier.

Built-in packet filter firewall - Protects private data while giving users full Internet access. NAT hides an internal network from the Internet, giving additional protection from hackers. In addition, the e-mail server should allow for tighter anti-spam rules. With new SSH remote access, system administrators should be able to securely connect to their PowerElf Server Appliance without fear of hackers or snoops. Encrypted passwords, secure key authentication, and root logins can all be enabled or disabled.

Virtual Private Networks - Lets users connect to the network via a secure 128bit encrypted VPN connection. PPTP is used to establish a connection to the PowerElf via the Internet. Employees can then access the server as if they were connected via the Office LAN.

Back up - The back up and restore feature of the PowerElf allows for data back ups of all the data and user settings stored on the PowerElf. The Optional tape back up feature installed on the PowerElf should perform a back up onto a tape drive every evening.

Cross-Platform File Support - Supports networks consisting of any combination of Windows, Macintosh, UNIX and Linux machines. Users can exchange information by dragging file icons to shared volumes.

PowerSite - These sites can be created for local or remote access. Create file sharing locations or a workgroup folder for a specific users.

Print Services - The PowerElf server supports one parallel port printer (LPT1) and IP based printers, such as HP Jet Direct Printers.

Network expansion - The local DHCP services automatically assigns to each of the computers on the network an IP address, subnet mask, gateway IP address and DNS IP address. Doing this should reduce the risk of human error and provides a fast, simple way of connecting more computers to the network.

Speedy Internet Access Caching - Temporarily stores information from the Internet on the hard drive of the PowerElf, enhancing the network performance in certain circumstances. This feature can be enabled/disabled by the user. The DNS service reduces IP address lookup by storing repeatedly used addresses locally, improving network performance.

Content Filtering - Controls the sites that web surfers have access to, and eliminates unwanted sites, such as those with pornographic, obscene or violent content. This feature can also be used to restrict access, either from sites or to only a group of specific sites.

Mail server - email services provide POP3, SMTP and IMAP to users for e-mail. E-mail may be accessed from anywhere on the Internet, whether at home or on the other side of the world. Vacation messaging (auto-responder) is also included.

Optional Mail Anti-Virus - Real time scanning of all incoming and out going email. Includes a scheduled file checker for scanning all files, directories and archives on the PowerElf. Combines with the PowerElf WebMail, will scan all WebMail emails as they pass through the server.

WebMail - The PowerElf also includes secure 128-bit encrypted WebMail. Users can now use their company email account while away from the office. A copy of the email will remain on the server to be downloaded by their workstation when they are back in the office.

Web Hosting - Create and host your own website. Commercial-grade web server appliance allows users to host their own Internal websites as well. Support for CGI, Perl, PHP and MySQL database included.

Virtual Hosting - Virtual hosting allows a PowerElf to host more than one web site, the services is transparent and each Web site will have its own domain name and set of e-mail addresses.

Secure Server - CA root certificate support allows for secure encryption for web sites hosted on the PowerElf, whether it be for e-commerce and accepting credit cards, or for having a secure site for storing secure information. The PowerElf provides 128Bit encryption on the server.

Raid 1 (optional) - ( Disk Mirroring) All data is written to dual hard drives. This feature protects data and prevents downtime in case of a hard drive failure. It will also speed up data retrieval and system performance because data can be read from both disks in parallel.

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