Office in a Box
Strengths: Easy-to-use, "all-in-one" product offering good functionality.
Weaknesses: Very pricey technical support.
Verdict: A product that smaller firms should consider.
Out of its box, we were impressed by the looks of InOne’s cube form factor device, which looks more like a piece of consumer electronics – complete with a polished black case – than a business appliance.
As would be expected from a Shuttle-type PC, the unit ran very quietly indeed, which would make it a good choice for a smaller office or branch environment without a dedicated server room or wiring closet.
Helped by the lengthy, but well-illustrated and clearly laid-out guide, we connected a monitor and a keyboard directly into the back of the device. We were then presented with a simple, but functional, DOS-based interface that gave us options to change the device’s IP settings, assign and to connect to the internet.
The unit has unexpected network server functionality that allows it to be assigned as, for example, a Primary Domain Controller on Windows networks. We rebooted after assigning an IP address and the scrolling information screen revealed that the device was running on a variation of Linux.
At this point, we plugged our DSL connection into the back of the unit and set up our DSL login and password details.
We were then prompted to set up our ISP, mail and website settings.
Rebooting again meant that we were able to log in to the server’s web interface, which boasts a very simple and clearly laid-out design. From this interface, we set up users, their email accounts and levels of access to server-based services and VPN access rights.
The device boasts anti-virus and anti-spam capabilities that IT administrators can also set up from this management interface. But we were concerned that this management screen informed us that any technical support will be charged at a per minute rate over a premium rate number, which is likely to prove unpopular for firms that have invested hundreds of dollars in such a device.
As an all-in-one solution for a small business or a branch office, this unit is well worth considering.