Amax Readies Channel For Preconfigured Server


The system builder and distributor is showing off the device this month at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, Calif. The Winmail e-mail server is aimed at small business and SOHO customersthose that want an e-mail server "but don't need the complexity of [Microsoft's] Exchange," said James Huang, product marketing specialist at Amax, Fremont, Calif.

A "plug-and-play" device, it is easy to set up but still offers advanced e-mail capabilities, Huang said. The server supports popular mail clients such as Outlook, Netscape and Eudora and also offers Web mail for remote access, Huang said. It also supports antivirus engines and includes backup and archiving features, he said. Software for the server is based on the company's Winmail application, developed in-house two years ago.

Amax's e-mail server is housed in a slim desktop/tower convertible case and uses an Intel Pentium 4 processor. It supports up to 4 Gbyte of DDR2 memory and includes onboard Gigabit Ethernet LAN, front I/O, two USB ports and a firewire port. A four-port SATA controller comes with Intel Matrix Storage Technology for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and Matrix RAID.

The device carries a price of $998 for the SOHO version and $1,799 for a more robust enterprise edition, including 50 user licenses.

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Hank Skawinksi, owner of Datawise, a Mountain View, Calif., system builder and VAR, said the concept sounds good, though he is waiting to formally evaluate the product.

"It sounds great," he said. "It's an all-encompassing box, literally one size fits all."

Skawinksi said he used to prefer to build his own e-mail servers, but the complexity of Microsoft software and security issues have made preconfigured appliances more attractive.

"When things were a lot slower and we didn't have all those security issues to deal with, I would just build a computer and install Linux and Sendmail."

Skawinksi said his biggest concern about the device is its embedded Windows operating system, which he feels may leave the system vulnerable to attacks.

To minimize security risks, Huang said Amax removed Windows components and services that are not used by the e-mail server and set up the appliance so it automatically downloads and installs patches.