by July 11, 2001 0 comments



Traditionally, hosting a website meant that you had to have complete knowledge of at least one Web server, like Apache or IIS, especially for tasks like choosing the right hardware or tuning them to a company’s specifications; plus maintenance, which includes tasks like taking backups of your domains and mailboxes. The HP Web Hosting Server Appliance lets you do all this, without needing in-depth knowledge. 

Design 

This rack server has been designed and configured to host websites and provide services associated with it. It has a 1U form factor, which means it’s only 1.75” thick. This allows greater server density per rack. It comes with all the necessary metal mounts to mount it in a rack. 

Simply removing a single screw from the top metal cover opens the rack. Inside the model we reviewed was a PIII/750 MHz processor, together with 256 MB RAM and Quantum Atlas V 9 GB hard drive. It also has two integrated Intel Pro/100+ network adapters. There are four DIMM slots for adding memory. You can add another SCSI hard drive of the same capacity. 

Another hard drive can be used to increase the storage capacity of the server, or for data mirroring. There are connectors for a floppy drive as well as two IDE hard drives. Five fans keep things cool inside. It also has two PS/2 ports, two USB, and two serial ports (one at the front and the other at the back).

Performance

The HP appliance runs on an OS based on Red Hat Linux kernel 2.2.16.3. It uses Apache Web server and sendmail for e-mail in the background. The front end is a Web browser for domain and user configuration and management. Thus without any prior knowledge of Apache or sendmail, you can easily configure them.

The first time you put the appliance on the network, you have to provide an IP address, gateway mask, and a default gateway to the server. This can be done by using the four buttons on the front panel. 

HP Web Hosting Server
 Appliance sa1120

Price: Starts at Rs 128,000
Features: PIII/750 MHz, 
256 MB RAM, 9 GB SCSI hard drive, 1 U form factor, OS based on Linux kernel 2.2.16.3, browser interface, SSL support,
CGI/PHP/Perl support 
Pros: Easy to configure, easily upgradeable
Cons: None
Contact: Hewlett-Packard. 
Chandiwala Estate
Maa Anandmai Marg, Kalkaji
New Delhi 110019. 
Tel: 011-6826000-14, Fax: 6826059.
E-mail:
subin_joseph@hp.com 

It also has a small LED window where you can navigate through various settings and enter the required information. You can then connect to it using a Web browser using its IP address and 5555 as the port. The first time you connect, a three-step wizard starts up which helps you in getting the server up and running. The first step is system setup–configuring the hostname, DNS information, system time, and date. Then comes security–creating an administrator account and configuring SSL support. Finally it gives you an option to install the software that lets you configure multiple appliances. Once this is done, you can log in with the admin ID to take control of the appliance. 
On logging in, a status screen shows you the current status of the server, the services running, CPU usage, etc. Here you can easily add domains, and configure various services for each of them. 

For each domain, you have to specify the domain name, IP address, Netmask, and the amount of domain disk quota. You also have to create an administrator, who will have full rights to maintain that domain. You can also choose to enable SSL, DNS, mail, virtual FTP, CGI and FrontPage support.

An end user can now use any tool for developing his site, and then use any FTP client or even FrontPage 2000 to transfer content. 

The server has support for Perl, PHP and CGI scripting languages, which means that a developer has full flexibility while developing his website. Once the content has been transferred to the appropriate directories, the site is ready to be browsed. The appliance also allows you to easily take backups of specific domains and mailboxes, and store these backups on the server itself or on a local machine. 

The appliance is accompanied by a manual, which contains extensive details on most topics. Prices start at Rs 128,000, which make this a good deal considering the ease of deployment.

Sachin Makhija

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