Experiences With eBox Platform (Total Network Solution for Small Business)By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Saturday, September 1, 2007
eBox platform provides a mini-debian installation along with its modules to allow you to provide and manage network services on your corporate network. The key capabilities includes support for multiple external network interfaces with load balancing, traffic shaping, transparent proxy, firewall, content filters, DNS (domain name server), NTP (time server), mail server, Jabber Instant Messaging server, SAMBA for file sharing, DHCP and more. In short it promise to be a one-stop solution for all network services needs for small businesses. Particularly I was interested in load balancing between multiple ADSL providers and traffic shaping capabilities. Here are my experiences with eBox platform.
eBox allows you to test it from a live CD which I opted to do for simplicity. The machine booted quickly with the Live CD and I was presented with a Firefox browser in maximized mode. The default password is ebox which allowed me to login to system.
Initially I started with two interfaces - a LAN connection to my corporate network which provides transparent internet access using a gateway and a USB ADSL connection from VSNL / Tata Indicom modem. I expected the system to recognize both the interfaces and specify the IP addresses etc. Unfortunately it recognized only the LAN interface and ignore the USB.
I then used the alternative LAN cable for VSNL (Broadband provider) with an additional LAN card. It did recognize both the interfaces now but I was unable to successfully configure either of the interfaces & gateway after several attempts. Let me clarify few points here. First of all I am very well conversant with setting up IP addresses & gateway. All the interfaces are in working order and are tested to be properly working. And yet I was unable to use either or both of them to configure for outbound connections. This was very frustrating to say the least.
For some reason eBox doesn’t allow me access to the console / terminal. I tried Ctril-Alt-F1 through Ctril-Alt-F12 without success. In fact after trying it I was unable to return back to the GUI.
Add to it the prospect that you have to dedicate a machine for eBox makes it an unattractive proposal for me.
My first foray into eBox was a disaster to say the least.
I have decided to stick to Fedora and use Anastosov’s patches to enable proper load balancing and transparent fail-over. At least I know I can make it work. Any better suggestions welcome.
Tags: Broadband, DHCP, DNS, DNS Caching, DSL, Fact, Fedora, Firewall, Jabber, NTP, POP3, SAMBA, SMTP, Tata Indicom Broadband, Traffic Shaping