SerCon™ Servers

CST’s SerCon™ line of business servers are based on the award-winning Ubuntu Linux operating system. We start with an optimized hardware configuration, and then configure the operating system with advanced options and additional Open Source software, such as disk encryption, virtualization, browser-based management, and intrusion detection.

SerCon servers are constructed with quality name-brand components: an MSI Military Class motherboard with AMD Cool’n'Quiet™ technology, and Samsung memory and disks. The SerCon hardware configuration is designed to run cool, fast, and efficiently. SerCon servers consume just 68W of power when idle, and the disks are eco-friendly “green” drives that run quietly and with less power while still providing excellent performance. CST’s SerCon servers are whisper-quiet; even our RAID model is quieter than many external USB drives.

Features:

  • AMD Phenom™ II X6 1055T Processor: 6 cores with virtualization support
  • Low-noise, low-heat EcoGreen™ disk drives
  • Full-disk encryption (secures “Data At Rest”)
  • Supports unlocking with a physical USB key and/or passphrase
  • Browser-based configuration and administration over HTTPS
  • Browser-based “remote desktop” access for users over HTTPS
  • Includes: KVM Virtualization platform
  • Includes: LXC Containers
  • Includes: Remote backup software
  • Includes: Network Intrustion Detection and Response software

 

Additional Software

CST’s SerCon servers include additional software not found on a base Linux install, including custom software developed by CST. All of the included software is Open Source, and CST has done the hard work of testing and tweaking the SerCon configuration for optimal performance. The result is a cost-effective solution that provides features you won’t find anywhere else.

Full-Disk Encryption

SerCon servers come with full-disk encryption based on dm-crypt using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). All disk partitions (except the initial boot image) are fully encryped, including swap, root, and all data.

Physical USB Boot Key

Having encrypted disks means the system will ask you for a passphrase every time it is rebooted. This could be cumbersome, especially for headless servers that don’t have a keyboard and monitor. SerCon servers include a physical USB key (with a keyfile on it), so the server can be started by simply plugging in the USB key (similar to a car key). This allows you to reboot the system without ever having to memorize a passphrase or plug in a keyboard.

If the USB key is ever lost or destroyed, a passphrase can still by typed in by hand to boot the server.

Included: KVM and LXC Containers

SerCon servers were designed with virtualization in mind. In addition to pre-configuring KVM and LXC virtualization packages, SerCon servers also include “lxc-ubuntu-x“, a tool for deploying Ubuntu LXC containers using templates and automation. Using LXC, you can deploy a new unique (virtual) network server in just a couple of seconds.

LXC containers are very similar to Virtual Machines, except that there is only one Linux kernel running. This results in massive performance improvements over traditional virtual machines.

A SerCon server can run hundreds of LXC containers at full performance (depending on workload), each with their own IP address and user logins. Because there is no machine-level virtualization layer, all processes and services run literally at 100.0% of native speed, with no resources wasted on disk I/O contention.

The primary drawback of LXC is that this only works for Linux; one cannot run an OS X or Windows container. Fortunately, KVM and LXC can run side-by-side, with Linux running in LXC, and all other operating systems running under KVM.

Included: Browser-based Administration

SerCon servers allow both users and administrators to log in to a remote desktop using only a modern web browser. It uses VNC and a proxy server to render directly to an HTML5 “canvas”, using Javascript. This provides secure, encrypted, client-less remote desktop over HTTPS.

Administrators can then use the standard management tools to add or remove users, view, test, and manage the RAID, and manage running Virtual Machines. Remote logins can also be done with VNC over SSH, which provides a secure key-based administration solution that works on most platforms, including Android.

Included: Browser-based User Logins

The HTTPS remote desktop feature runs through the GDM login manager, allowing users to access their own private desktops using a simple web browser. This allows you to easily deploy desktop applications to a web platform, while making full use of desktop user interface components.

Included: Backup Software

All SerCon servers include a security-enhanced, multi-server installation of “Rsnapshot”, configured to backup mutiple remote computers. Rsnapshot runs backups to remote computers, with all the features of a modern backup application:

  • All data transfer is encrypted
  • Incremental changes are tracked over time; you may instantly retrieve your file as it existed a day, or a week, or a month ago.
  • Each snapshot is presented as a complete, independent copy of the data (using hard links for data deduplication)

SerCon servers are the perfect backup appliance for your pre-existing Windows or Linux servers: it will run automatic backups to several other computers, tracking incremental changes over time, over an encrypted channel.

If you require off-site backup services, you may also be interested in our Managed 2TB Off-site Backup Server.

Included: Intrusion Detection Software

Every SerCon server has the powerful instrusion detection software “fail2ban” installed. This software monitors your system for network-based attacks, and any hostile remote computer is automatically firewalled by the kernel (for a limited time period). The software is highly configurable, and allows you to customize actions (like email alerts and attack monitors). SerCon servers ship with 6 different Apache monitors, 7 email monitors, 3 FTP monitors, and monitors for SSH, DNS, PHP, and xinetd network services.

Price List

SerCon Server: Basic

  • AMD Phenom™ II X6 1055T Processor
  • 16 GB RAM (DDR3-1333)
  • 1.5 TB on a single disk
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GigE)
  • eSATA Port
  • Multimedia Capable: ATI Radeon™ HD4250 GPU; VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI video out; Lossless 24-bit sound with 7.1 channels
  • Includes everything in the SerCon™ configuration
  • Price: $2000 USD (plus tax & shipping)
  • Place an Order

 

SerCon Server: RAID1 Mirrored

Includes everything in the Basic model, plus dual-disk redundancy.

  • AMD Phenom™ II X6 1055T Processor
  • 16 GB RAM (DDR3-1333)
  • 1.5 TB on dual RAID1 mirrored disks (can survive a disk failure using mdraid)
  • Gigabit Ethernet (GigE)
  • eSATA Port (for disk expansion modules)
  • Multimedia Capable: ATI Radeon™ HD4250 GPU; VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI video out; Lossless 24-bit sound with 7.1 channels
  • Includes everything in the SerCon configuration
  • Price: $2300 USD (plus tax & shipping)
  • Place an Order

 

SerCon 12TB eSATA RAID6 Disk Expansion Module

  • 8 x 2.0TB disks = 16TB total. In RAID6 (using mdraid) = 12TB visible
  • Hot-swappable drive bays
  • Upgradeable firmware
  • Can survive two simultaneous disk failures
  • SerCon’s Ubuntu O.S. can share raw disk space as NAS (using NFS, SMB, WebDAV, or SSHFS) or SAN (using iSCSI)
  • Includes: PCIe eSATA 3.0Gbps Port Multiplier
  • Price: $2000 USD (plus tax & shipping)
  • Place an Order

 

SerCon Quickstart Guide

For more info about SerCon™ servers, check out the SerCon Quickstart Guide >>