by March 1, 2000 0 comments

Novell Internet Caching System (NICS) is an appliance that provides Web page caching to any Internet server. The product is meant for ISPs or organizations with heavy Internet usage. It works only with select servers from Compaq, Dell, NEC, IBM, and Hitachi. It has its own processor, hard disk, and RAM, but no monitor, keyboard or mouse. It also comes with a CD and floppy drive for installing software on it. It’s available in three different configurations, varying in hard drive capacity and RAM. The one we looked at contained two 9 GB hard drives and 256 MB RAM. 

The main advantage of NICS is that it provides a large cache for frequently visited Web pages. Any request for a Web page first goes to the NICS. If the Web page is not in its cache, the request is then sent to the Internet. This saves bandwidth, thus making Net access faster. The box can only cache static Web pages, and not dynamic ones with CGI and ASP scripts.

Setting up NICS is a breeze. It comes preinstalled with the software, and can be remotely managed
through a Web browser, FTP, or telnet. Configuring the box requires entering the IP addresses of the default gateway to the Internet and all the Web servers on the network. It comes with a restoration CD that can reinstall the software if it gets corrupt. In case of a problem, the hard disk can also be pulled out while NICS is running, in which case the RAM does the caching. This would of course reduce performance. 

NICS has a lot of configuration options. You can for instance, define the upper limit of the file size to be cached, the number of days before a file is deleted from cache, etc. 

The Dell ICS PE1300 costs Rs 300,000, the ICS PE4350 costs Rs 780,000, and the ICS PE6350 costs Rs 12,24,000. Source: Dell Asia Pacific SDN_indialiaison office; Bangalore, Tel: 80-5586110. 

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