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Untangle Not a Tangle At All - page 2

Features

  • January 14, 2008
  • By Charlie Schluting

In a nutshell: best experience ever. The Untangle Gateway server gets installed in front of your Internet connection, and takes care of all your routing and firewalling needs. The instructions and install guide explains it very well: don't worry.

If you didn't know better, you'd possibly never even realize that the server was running Linux. A static splash screen is the only thing you see as your server boots. After being greeted with three dialogs, one to welcome you, one to click that you accept the GPL, and one to select which disk to use, the installer runs through a systems requirements check. As seen in Figure 1, it displays any deficiencies but, thankfully, will continue installing even if your system fails to meet the requirements.

After a few stern warnings about your selected disk being fully erased, the install continues and runs to completion. After a reboot you're brought to the main menu where you can launch the client. When running the client, which can be accessed remotely too, you're completely enveloped in the Untangle software--you really aren't administering anything but the applications Untangle provides.

The Untangle Gateway is laid out as a virtual rack, giving you easy access to each feature you wish to administer. Figure 3 shows which applications we've installed and enabled, most of which required zero configuration. By providing sane defaults and applications that "just work," Untangle makes this amazingly simple, yet highly customizable. Take a look at the Java demo to click around and experience the configuration options yourself.

Now, we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't point out the obvious. Yes, you need an extremely fast server if you're hoping to enable all of Untangle Gateway's features. Spam filtering alone is generally done on a dedicated server for medium to large businesses. We wouldn't want to see what happens your do-everything server comes under a spam attack, while at the same time trying to scan user downloaded content for viruses. That said, this product is really for small to medium-small businesses, and we feel it fills that role quite nicely. Heck, it's also a wonderful tool for the control-freak's home network.

Again, it's all about the bundled solution. You may be able to get the majority of this functionality with tons of work and your own Linux distribution, but why bother? The Untangle Gateway's additional features based on their own technology are enough to sway, but when you start configuring these complex applications with only the click of a few buttons, that's the icing on the cake. Throw in the fact that the Untangle Gateway takes great advantage of its unique network position, and we quickly realize that you cannot afford to hand-configure your own solution. You simply cannot do what Untangle does.

This article originally appeared on Enterprise Networking Planet, a JupiterOnlineMedia site.

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