Our environment has a multitude of remote subnets that we monitor by deploying Linux-based probes running various network monitoring software and other handy tools. Currently we're using surplus-ed Dell OptiPlex GXs whose chief advantages are 1) their smallish form factor and 2) they're free. However they have a number of disadvantages: They're noisy, bulky, and prone to hardware failure (mostly due to age... they're at least five years old before they get to us).
We're looking to move to something smaller, quieter and purpose-built for this kind of work. The Soekris 4501 (which I have had great results with in other places) and ALIX 2D3 immediately come to mind. However, they're both lacking the killer feature which is the absence of external AC adapter.
The ideal platform would have:
- No external AC adapter
- Power over Ethernet capabilities
- 3 or more NICs (10/100 is sufficient)
- Serial port console access
- Few or (preferably) no fans
- Compact FLASH for storage
- The ability to happily run Linux or BSD
- Between $150 and $200 per unit
The Soekris and ALIX products have all of these features except they require an AC adapter (albeit a small one).
- Has anyone come across a platform that manages to meet all these criteria?
- What's your preference for an "embedded" platform that serves as a network probe/swiss army knife?