There have been many attempts to create a perfect multifunctional server for small offices, but almost all have failed. Igaware in the UK claims to be the exception. The All-In-One Small Business server offers a variety of network security features, and Igaware tells us that they have focused heavily on providing high-end customer support.
The device is an Asus desktop computer, the model under review targeting small businesses with between 15 and 30 users. It offers a full range of communications services, and the price can be refined by licensing only the desired functions.
Open source utilities keep costs low and include the NetFilter SPI firewall, ClamAV antivirus scanner, SpamAssassin antispam and SquidGuard web filtering. Igaware also offers the Zarafa email server as a smaller and easier alternative to Exchange. It is easy to manage and aims to provide a close Exchange experience, including support for public folders.
We connect the LAN and WAN ports of the device, and from the commanded web interface we configure the firewall to perform NAT on the WAN port. A flaw of many competing products has been their inability to hide the underlying Linux kernel, but Igaware has done a good job of doing so, so Windows users don’t need to know about Linux.
As user accounts are created, they are automatically given their own shared storage area, mailbox, and homepage for storing shared web documents. Quotas can be applied to both shares and sites.
URL filtering can be configured globally for all users and individually, although you can only choose from 12 categories plus your own black and white lists. However, the performance was below average: with the game category selected, it blocked access to only 34 of the 50 online bingo sites visited.
For antispam testing, the box has been set up to retrieve live emails from multiple ISP accounts at regular intervals. The low score threshold was overly enthusiastic, resulting in many false positives. However, the higher threshold was very effective, capturing 97% of spam during the five-day trial period.
Along with standard FTP services, this latest version now offers IP SAN support courtesy of SourceForge, where all target LUNs are presented under a single IQN. However, the performance was average at best, with drag-and-drop copies below 40 MB / sec. File sharing speed was even slower, and our test copies returned top speeds of only 25 MB / sec.
Small businesses looking for a complete communications and office security solution should check out Igaware. I found it to be easy to use and although its web filtering performance is not excellent, the antispam scores are very good and its value is much better than many rack based solutions.
|2x WD Caviar 320GB Fixed SATA disks in mirrored array|