by February 22, 2006 0 comments

Nitix is an OS meant for emerging businesses. The beauty of
the OS is that its installable is only 35 MB, and yet provides lots of features. 
It can run as a Live CD installed to the hard disk. The OS can be
installed on 64-bit machines like AMD Athlon 64. It’s pretty easy to install
and the only thing it asks for is an IP address. If you don’t provide that, it
can pick it up from a DHCP server as well. Once installed, it takes you to its
Web interface, from where you can configure it. Currently it doesn’t have X
Windows, which is probably why it has a small footprint.


$600 for base pack; $20 for each add-on
Small networks 
Small footprint, easy recovery, VPN connectivity
Pros: Easy configuration
Cons: Poor documentation
Net-itech Asia Pacific,
Tel: +91-22-5573 1201 (India office)
RQS# E24 or SMS 132402 to 9811800601

Nitix has a whole range of interesting features. When a new
user is created, he automatically gets permissions to a MySQL database, and also
gets an email account. You can then assign quotas, permissions, Password
policies, etc to this account.

Nitix has VPN capability, with support for TunnelVision,
IPSec and can act as a PPTP server. Nitix can be accessed from anywhere using
its Remote Access Services (RAS), through VPN or a Dial-up connection. The OS
supports CIFS/SMB (Windows File Sharing), Appleshare IP (for Macintosh systems),
and NFS (for UNIX systems) for file sharing purposes.

You can monitor hardware status and logs through Nitix’s Web interface in real time

Nitix features NetIntelligence, using which 
it discovers and maps network routes. During this process it auto-detects
live links to the Internet and auto-configures a firewall. Nitix has a SPI
firewallwith NAT. Its SoftUpdate feature can update Nitix automatically over the
Internet. It alerts you with a message every time a new update or fix is
released. This product also supports redundant Internet connectivity. One
drawback Nitix has is its documentation. There are help files provided in its
Web configuration interface and couple of guides available on its website but
none of them are good enough.

SystemER (Emergency Recovery) in Nitix is an advanced
disaster recovery technology that enables Nitix powered servers to be recovered
from any type of system failure including faulty hardware and fire. It can do
this in just two minutes, but you’ll need to have Nitix powered or certified
servers. On the manageability front, the OS can scan for all workstations on its
network. It can also act as a print server, for which it will automatically
detect all printers on the network. Nitix’s e-mail services include SMTP
server, POP3 server, IMAP/SSL server, and LDAP server.

Nitix has a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook called ExchangeIt.
When it is used with Microsoft Outlook, it adds features like schedule sharing,
contact list sharing, meeting invitations, group sharing between different users
of Nitix. It also backs up Outlook data on the Nitix server, and if Outlook
loses data it can be re-synchronized. It also comes with add-on features like
anti-virus and anti-spam but we couldn’t test them because we had a Nitix
trail CD. Cost of these add-ons is separate and not included in the base pack.
While testing for its routing capabilities, we found that its Web interface
doesn’t have any pre-configured profile for configuring  NATing between two interfaces. This has to be done straight
from the shell in IP tables. You can also monitor the logs of Nitix through its
Web-interface or from its default shell interface in real time.

Bottom Line: Overall,
it looks like a pretty good OS for small and medium businesses, given its small
footprint and the bundled features.

Swapnil Arora

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