Mark I Server Is SMB-Ready

Mark I Server Is SMB-ReadyCompanies looking for an easy-to-deploy, all-in-one workgroup server appliance should consider the Net Integrator Mark I from Net Integration Technologies Inc.

In eWEEK Labs' tests, the Mark I provided Internet connectivity, e-mail, and file and print services, as well as Web applications and firewall and VPN capabilities out of the box. This plethora of features makes the Mark I a good choice for businesses with small-to-midsize networks managed by minimal IT staff.

The Mark I workstation tower we tested, priced at $3,500, was equipped with an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Athlon XP2500+ processor, 512MB of double-data-rate memory, dual 120GB Ultra-direct memory access-100 hard drives with RAID 1 support and three 10/100M-bps Ethernet ports. The Mark I comes with 25 client access licenses with ExchangeIt, a plug-in that allows desktop clients to use Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook mail client's collaborative features. Additional user licenses cost $26 each; with ExchangeIt added, each license costs $59.

The Mark I runs Nitix, Net Integration's proprietary Linux operating system. Nitix resides on a solid-state disk. In the event of a hard drive failure, the Mark I can provide basic Internet connectivity with no downtime.

The Mark I server's built-in auto-discovery features allow for quick setup in basic network environments. In a matter of minutes, the Mark I discovered our test IP addressing scheme, auto-configured its IP address for the WAN and enabled Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol connectivity for our LAN clients.

The Mark I has no video card, and all administrative tasks are performed over the LAN using a Web browser. The clean, simple Web user interface allowed us to easily navigate and change system configurations, such as e-mail server settings or VPN setup.

When customers purchase a Mark I with an optional backup hard drive, the Nitix operating system performs incremental backups of the data hard drive, a process that Net Integration calls IDB (intelligent disk backup). Nitix can perform a disk-to-disk backup of changes as often as every 15 minutes. Once a base IDB is established, companies can use the medium to restore the server quickly if disaster strikes.

Nitix's DoubleVision feature provides integrated load balancing for sites that have two ISP pipes. DoubleVision load balances traffic between the two pipes in normal operations and provides failover if one pipe fails.

The Mark I provides Web hosting via an Apache-based Web server with Secure Sockets Layer support. Also integrated is an e-mail server with Post Office Protocol 3, IMAP4 and Web access capabilities.

The Mark I costs more than systems such as the Magnia, but it offers more powerful processors, Ethernet ports and better software features.