My Favorite Chili Recipe

Sorry if you clicked on this thinking this was about chili in the edible sense. Instead, I’m going to talk about the Chilibox from Chilisystems. I had my first, ahem, taste of the Chilibox this past Monday, and I’m pretty impressed by what I see so far.

One of my residential customers recently called upon my services to help him with the technology setup for a new business venture he has started. Nothing massive, just a four-person office. But he wanted to be sure not to cut corners on technology investments. I helped him shop for a couple of laptops and a desktop, software, printers, Internet connectivity, LAN, etc. Pretty much everything.

He wanted to have some kind of office file server. Admittedly, he is an ideal candidate for Microsoft’s Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SBS 2003). And SBS is a great product. But I hesitated to recommend it for a couple nit-picky reasons: (1) Microsoft’s licensing model and (2) wanting to have something that requires very minimal babysitting, administration, and patching.

So enter the Chilibox. It’s quite literally a Swiss Army Knife type of network appliance, built upon a customized UNIX based called the ChiliOS. What can it do?

  • DNS, DHCP and NAT
  • Firewall
  • Web Proxy
  • Fileshare
  • Automated Backup to attached USB drive
  • Mail Server
  • VPN and remote access to files via Web browser (aka ChiliDrive)

So as you can see, it’s a versatile device. I opted for the Wireless model (CSI-CB160W), which does all that plus acts a Wireless Access Point. We’re using only a subset of the features so far, namely the Fileshare, USB backup, DHCP/NAT and Wireless AP functions. I set this customer up on hosted Exchange 2003, so he doesn’t need to utilize the built-in mail functionality.

I still have a lot of work left to do for this client, but I’m pleased at how quickly I’ve gotten basic services up and running with the Chilibox.

[tags]chilibox,csi-cb160w,chilios,exchange 2003,sbs 2003[/tags]