Cobalt Appliance

Written by Clive Swanepoel
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Although the Cobalt appliance servers by Sun Microsystems were all phased out of production by January 2003, support for some models will extend through 2008. These servers were called "appliance servers" because they could be installed, up and running within 15 minutes. They were supplied with pre-installed software for remote access, email, website hosting, and firewall security.

Appliance Servers

Today similar functionality and more resides in the remote access servers or adapters that are used to enable remote users to connect to networks. These RAS servers are available as discrete cabinet based units or as adapter cards that can be plugged into any PCI 2.1 slot on a server. They authenticate remote users before allowing them access to the network.

For a few years, the Cobalt server was the mainstay of the Web hosting industry, but has since been superseded by smaller and faster machines that can be easily scaled to accommodate growth. ISPs and network managers can monitor their networks using software that is embedded in the remote access server. Reports can be generated to pinpoint errors in real time.

Networking for the SOHO

The Sun Cobalt Qube 3 extended the capabilities of the Cobalt appliance server to include secure Internet connectivity. This enabled home offices and small businesses to host their own websites, email systems and network home or office PCs. These days, small and medium sized businesses use standard servers equipped with RAS adapter cards to provide reliable and secure network access for their users. Because standard servers are used, they are able to integrate a much wider number of applications.

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