Nitix server suits “one-person IT department”


Author: Tina Gasperson

Recently, Standard Air and Lite, an HVAC wholesaler in Pennsylvania, moved its Web presence and email software from a Sun Cobalt Qube 3 server appliance to a Linux-based Nitix server. The company is so satisfied with the new system’s reliability that it is considering adding an intranet and hosting it on another Nitix machine.

Standard Air and Lite is a wholesale supplier and regional distribution center for the Carrier and Payne brands of HVAC equipment. The company does about $40 million in sales each year, and has remote offices throughout Pennsylvania and in West Virginia.

Rita Palmer, Standard’s network administrator for 15 years, runs the entire company on three servers. “We have an RS/6000 for internal applications, a supplemental server that catches the spam, and now the Nitix server to host our Web stuff and get our email.”

Palmer was perfectly happy with the Qube 3, but early in 2005, the machine was “dying,” and Sun was no longer manufacturing the appliance. She checked with her hardware vendor, DataMatrix, and they recommended a Nitix appliance.

“I needed something reliable,” Palmer says. “We installed this in one day. It’s very reliable. There’s lower maintenance [than with the Qube] and I get more information when I use the Web interface.”

Palmer found that there’s not much of a learning curve when it comes to keeping the Nitix appliance up and running. The only challenge she faced during the implementation was getting Standard’s Fusion database ported from Sun to Linux. Once that was done, it only took a week to transfer the entire Web infrastructure to the new server.

So far, Palmer is happy with the switch. “It’s much less expensive to keep it supported. With the previous system, I had to pay a lot of support charges to DataMatrix.” She’s also found the Nitix system is much easier for someone with limited command line interface experience. “I don’t need to get the Linux command book out,” Palmer says. “I’m a one-person IT department, and as much as I love to learn, there’s just not enough time in the day. I had to do a little bit more of that on the Cobalt.”

“I think Linux is a much more secure operating system and I don’t have to worry about too many updates,” Palmer says. But a voluntary update may be in the works for Standard Air and Lite soon. “A company intranet is something I’d like to look into, and use a Nitix server for that.”


  • Software