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I am starting a project for a client and I would like to know if there is a place to obtain hardware to base a custom router/network appliance on.

I have the need for a rack mount device, something along the lines of the forfactor of the smoothwall appliance. I can't imagine that smoothwall (and countless others) are going to direct manufactures there has to be some wholesaler somewhere.

I also have the need for smaller 'remote' boxes that I am thinking I can use some sort of Mini-ITX form factor, but I am having troubling finding boards with dual and 1000Mbs ports.

So my questions are:

  1. What are some wholesale places to purchase 'appliance type' hardware?
  2. Does anyone know of any other alternative to the mini-itx form factor to have dual nics and/or 1Gbs port(s)?
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Seems that PortWell has exactly the kind of things I was asking for; however they require a quote and I would prefer a shop that will sell One-Offs. However I really like the devices with LCDs –  ErebusBat Dec 14 '10 at 18:50
    
balticnetworks.com has some interesting offerings. –  Chris S Jan 24 '11 at 18:21

6 Answers 6

We use SuperMicro 1U Atom based devices as our routers. Specifically the SuperServer 5015A-PHF. In the past we used the SuperServer 5015A-H

They are available via BellMicro or IngramMicro

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Most appliances are just Dell or HP servers with a custom faceplate on them. If you just need a small 1U server check out some of the things that Dell offers. Then have a print shop make a large sticker that you can put over the faceplate. It won't be as nice as a customer face place, but it will be MUCH cheaper.

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Without getting into supply chain 101, you'll have a hard time finding a wholesaler who's willing to sell you the device you're looking for in quantities less than 100 (or 1000, or 10,000, etc.). If you mean you want a whitebox network device, you have some options mentioned already (SuperMicro, Portwell, Dell, etc.).

Netgate.com also sells a rack-mounted (or desktop configuration) Hamakua device I've been very happy with: it is very well built and with 5 GbE NICs, 1GHz Celeron and up to 2GB DDR2 RAM, you can push some pretty serious packets with it.

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Does anyone know of any other alternative to the mini-itx form factor to have dual nics and/or 1Gbs port(s)?

Just about all the miniITX motherboards I've looked at recently have 1 Gbps ethernet.

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Mikrotik 450 or 750. Smaller, 5 ethernet ports, router OS. Cost is LOW. Can do a lot, including BGP. –  TomTom Jan 24 '11 at 16:25
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At this point it looks like NewEgg is my best bet for raw hardware....

Or anyther vendor such as Zareason if I would like (linux) support /w warranty.

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http://www.linnitx.com. I would at this point go with something - unless you need a LOT of performance - something from MIKROTIK (a RouterBoard). If this fails, go for a 1" rack item for RouterOS. Unless you go really commercial (i.e. Cisco, Extreme Networks etc.) that seems to be the best implementation of a routing operating system for a decent price.

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