A New Project
These boxes are going to handle localised content filtering and caching, as well as provide a secure data link between a library and headquarters and a more secure firewall. It will also allow us to make more efficient use of our bandwidth.
Currently, we have only one server that handles filtering and caching for seven of the eight libraries. So, for our patrons to get to the Internet, they have to go through our server at headquarters first. When you consider that a couple dozen users go through a single T1 at the same time from off-site, you begin to see how slow and congested it can get.
Our security relies on knowing what software we have, regular software patches, as well as user intervention to spot problems. While we've had few problems, and haven't had any major data loss or downages, the potential for trouble is always going to be there. These network boxes will isolate our internal networks from the Internet, and provide a secure portal for all the data to go through. For our patrons who use wifi, they'll still be able to access the Internet while remaining isolated from our equipment.
We're requesting quotes from vendors right now, and we're hoping to purchase the hardware we need by the end of the week or early next week. The operating system will be Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx. This is one of their long-term service releases which will have support for five years. I've been using LTS on my own personal server at home and on my laptop and office workstation without issue. Deployment of the boxes will be in early July after hours to avoid any disruption.
What will they look like? Each unit is just a black box with a locking front cover that you won't see or even notice.