Published June 20, 2000
Volume 8, Number 6

NETmachines' Servers Aimed at Growing Market
RedRak Boxes Offer Linux, Other Systems for Internet Mobility
NETmachines president and CEO Peter Tsepeleff with a RedRak server.

By Jay Hipps 
Network Editor

The availability of specialized tools is the sign of a maturing market, and with NETmachines RedRak servers, the Internet server market takes several steps towards having its own specialized tools. 

NETmachines' main product, the RedRak server was designed in conjunction with the company's early advisors, many of whom had experience as Internet service providers (ISPs). As the explosion of the Internet's popularity first began, ISPs frequently needed to modify existing off-the-shelf technologies for their own purposes. Those experiences went into the design of RedRak. 

"Our slogan is 'Built by ISPs for ISPs,'" says Peter Tsepeleff, NETmachines' president and CEO. "Flexibility is a key." 

RedRak is tailored for use by ISPs or by corporate users interested in running their own Internet services. Hard drives are removable from a module on the front of the machine; the height of the CPU allows it to be mounted in a rack for optimum spatial efficiency. 

The included software is also chosen carefully. The machines ship with the increasingly popular Linux operating system, favored for its dependability and speed, but also support other operating systems. 

"The reason we chose Linux is that it's really robust," says Tsepeleff. "It has about one-fifth the code of Windows NT and it never crashes. About half the servers out there that serve the web today are Linux-based." 

That said, he notes that the RedRak's Intel-based architecture will allow the machines to support Windows 98 and NT, Solaris, Unix, and FreeBSD. 

That's not all the software that's included, however. 

"Everything that you associate with a server for the Internet, that software is included: Apache and Samba for e-mail, a firewall, a router, a web server, a file transfer protocol (FTP) server." 

RedRak servers also feature a graphical user interface which is web-browser based. "If you know how to use Netscape or Explorer you know how to use it -- it's very, very simple. It takes five minutes to install and there's a minimal amount of knowledge needed to set it up. It's literally five clicks." 

Despite the emphasis on marketing to ISPs, Tsepeleff says that corporations and even small businesses are buying the servers as well in an effort to bring their Internet presence in-house. 

"Companies are realizing that their web is really important," he says. "They're doing e-commerce, it's a marketing tool, and your site is a representation of the company. Companies are realizing that the most efficient way to represent yourself is to have your own server." 

The RedRak, priced from $1,000 to $3,000, will see a second generation in September. That product will add features such as load balancing, which allows a server in a cluster of servers to direct traffic depending on each server's use, and automatic failover, which means that a server failure will simply result in traffic redirected to another server instead of down time for a web site or other service loss.


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