NetMax sweetens open-source networking
- By Eric Hammond
- Oct 25, 2000
The open-source software movement has produced many excellent products,
but integration and centralized administration has been a problem.
Cybernet Systems Corp.'s NetMax Professional Suite helps out by bundling
many fine open-source products in a complete network solution that will
work equally well as a workgroup-type file server or as a full-featured
enterprise Internet server.
NetMax professional suite walks the administrator through many of the
pesky details of configuring IP and disk information as well as other system
issues that cause headaches for non-Unix administrators trying to harness
the power of Linux for the first time.
Starting with a bootable CD, NetMax Professional Suite offers multiple
configuration options for the administrator, depending on the initial configuration
of the target server, the availability of clients on the network and the
level of handholding the administrator desires.
I chose to do a browser-based installation, which requires that another
machine be set up on the same network as NetMax. I was a little disappointed
that I couldn't do this on the NetMax console. Having to switch to another
machine adds unneeded complexity to the installation process, especially
if you intend to use NetMax as the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
server for your client network.
NetMax Professional Suite combines many of Cybernet Systems' networking
products in one suite. It includes a Domain Name System server, a DHCP server,
a firewall, a Web proxy and cache, the Apache Web server, Secure Sockets
Layer support, sendmail, a File Transfer Protocol server, a news server,
client and server backups, and file and print sharing for Windows, Macintosh
and Unix systems.
With all of the included functionality, a NetMax system could easily
be the complete Internet gateway and file and print server for a small agency.
Having all of these features in one centrally managed system can increase
the security and ease the management of key Internet services.
Of course, this also creates one point of failure for the entire network,
so uses should employ some kind of fault-tolerant strategy. By including
Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) support as well as automated
backup support, the NetMax suite helps the administrator ensure a reliable
I liked NetMax's browser-based administration, which provides a consistent,
easy-to-navigate interface for managing the functionality in the Professional
Suite. I was able to quickly configure the DHCP service and bring up clients
on the network. The support for Windows, Macintosh and Unix file and print
services will ease the burden of supporting multiple-client operating systems.
Because NetMax uses open-source software as the core of its solution,
administrators familiar with these tools will be comfortable implementing
them on NetMax. The only difference is the NetMax administrative tool, which
even seasoned command-line administrators will find makes some tasks more
I found NetMax to be a valuable solution as an Internet gateway for
remote offices, as a file and print solution for medium-to-large workgroups
and offices, and as an Internet server that packs the performance punch
of the impressive Unix/Apache Web server platform.
If you're looking for a solution for one or all of those situations,
check out the NetMax Professional Suite. For single solutions, check out
Cybernet's other NetMax products, which offer point solutions at competitive
Eric Hammond is a Denver-based freelance writer and a technical director
at L7, a Denver-based company that specializes in building IT infrastructure.