This device fits into a shiny black 2U rack-mountable chassis. It offers redundant power supplies, a serial port and two 10/100/1000 Base-TX Ethernet ports for network connectivity. Either port can be used for fail-over and/or network management.
The setup is performed using a command line interface (CLI) over the serial connection. The CLI operates in Redline Networks' own command shell, RLSHELL, which provides access to the management and configuration commands. Setup was straightforward and we had a working system in an hour.
The RLSHELL provides control over all aspects of the unit's operation and can provide system monitoring statistics down to the individual server level. Similar management facilities are provided in the browser-based interface.
Online help is available, but it was not immediately obvious. However, the printed and CD documentation is very detailed, so this should not pose a problem.
System administration can be controlled with passwords and a set of user access levels that determine the actions any user may perform. This allows operations to be split between those users who need to monitor the system and those who are authorized to change it.
Redline offers a clustering feature called "ActiveN". This allows up to 32 units to be clustered together, giving high availability and load balancing capabilities, as well as providing a means of increasing processing capacity by adding more devices to the cluster.
One useful feature is the "Overdrive" application rule translator, which allows traffic to be directed to separate servers according to user-defined rules. It is possible to send traffic to particular servers based on the type of browser used in the request or even the client's IP address.
This can be applied to replies to requests, so if a server or application returns a response with a particular key word, a specified action can be taken. This allows for some resilience features to be implemented on the appliance, rather than at the application level. It also allows for processing to be adjusted as situations change without major changes to the applications.