Server in a Box

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-05-12 Print this article Print

Lamont Long, IT director at Crowe Chizek and Co. LLC, an accounting firm based in Indianapolis, Ind., said his firm turned to Colligo after seeking in vain a way to replicate Notes databases without having to lug an entire server-in-a-box to client sites. Before the firm started implementing the Notes plug-in in fall 2003, each team would lug a custom-made travel case containing a laptop that functioned as a server, an Ethernet hub, a printer, a scanner, cables and power strips. The firm had about 200 of these kits that teams would sign out when they hit the road.
Besides the shoulder-aching problem of non-luggability, the firm also found that the servers would sometimes get lost, dropped, sat on or dumped on on-site.
Tony Havranek, the firms manager of AWP (Automated Workpaper, an internal nickname for a group of highly customized and transportable Notes databases set up for sharing auditable work papers), said he was getting an average of three to five help calls on the remote servers. Since the firm finishing implementing Colligo in January, hes had only one call. "To a programmer, its amazing," Havranek said. "To think you dont need a server to replicate with another user just seems … surprising." The accountancy is now using Colligos plug-in for its 700 field accountants. The workgroup takes an Ethernet hub. Workgroup members plug in the Ethernet on-site and launch the Colligo client on their laptops. The client then determines whos on the local network and begins to replicate between connected systems using the features and functions typically found on the server. Crowe Chizek is looking to go wireless eventually but will hold off until the firm feels comfortable about the security Colligo can provide. Havranek said the firm is also hoping to adopt Colligo to partner with clients so that when accountants go to a client site, they can download their clients documents, including, for example, preliminary financial statements and accounting schedules. Whats particularly attractive about the current setup of AWP and Colligo, Long said, is that it helps to satisfy requirements about data retention and auditing stipulated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. "People can share the same database and add comments to a rich text data field, and theyd be available and visible and wed know who did it," he said. Pricing for Colligo Enterprise Edition has not yet been determined, but the products precursor, Workgroup Edition, costs $70 per seat. That pricing allows for extension of the Windows operating system. For $110 per seat, Workgroup Edition ships with a Lotus Notes plug-in to allow for Notes database replication. The Workgroup Edition is geared toward small workgroups where configuration and management is done locally by the workgroup itself. The Enterprise Edition will be centrally managed by enterprise IT via the server-managed client architecture so that the IT department can provision the client with things such as security policies or extract from client systems audit trails from transactions that occurred on the road. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at for the latest database news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our database news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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