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Celestix Aries Server Appliance

The toaster-sized Celestix includes the best setup interface of any Internet appliance we've tested. A card-sized LCD panel contains all the configuration screens necessary to start Celestix on the road to controlling your network.

Large enough to display four lines of text with navigation arrows and headings above and below, the Celestix LCD screen controls each critical start-up setting. Like NetWinder, Celestix starts with an IP address of 192.168.1.1, but informs you in bright pixels on the front of the machine, and offers an easy way to change that address. The IP addresses for primary and secondary Ethernet ports can be set through the LCD screen, you can enable the DHCP server here, and most other services can be started or stopped from the front panel. The four surrounding navigation keys provide an easy trip through what could become a menu maze, but it's laid out well enough that everything works.

While Qube 3 may be slightly administration-heavy, the Celestix appliance follows the "no news is good news' mantra. Too little information is shown, and no system information screens can be found. Only the most rudimentary file controls are provided (making files Read-Only or restrict access, for example). The user control screens don't offer ways to restrict user access to parts of the server hard drive. Unlike other systems, users can't be gathered into groups for easier management.

A basic firewall comes standard, but it's far more limited than the other firewalls in the range of traffic controlled and management. Proxy caching support must come from an ISP; the Celestix appliance doesn't directly provide caching for clients. Basic e-mail comes with the package, although Web client e-mail activity reports aren't included.

As the least expensive system ($1,000), Celestix offers some of the most advanced connection features. Its front sports an infrared port underneath the LCD panel, includes two PCMCIA slots, and ships with drivers for 802.11 wireless devices that plug into PC Card slots. The feature list doesn't include anything beyond the basics, but the basics work as advertised.

As Internet servers and services become as mandatory for small companies as they have for large corporations, the server appliance market will explode. This much power and control never came in such a stylish or user-friendly package before. For small and midsize companies, and corporate departments that need servers, these appliances do a great job hitting that 80/20 mark: 20% of the cost and complexity gives you 80% of all the features you need.

 

Review Provided By  www.nwfusion.com/review/2001/0521rev.html


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Last modified: 23/04/03