Inside a Cobalt Qube 2
June 10, 2002

Author: Brian Lee
Page: 1


Note:  All the images in this article can be enlarged to 640 x 480 in a new window by clicking on the thumbnail.

I want to introduce you to a new piece of hardware I recently purchased.  I just obtained a new Cobalt Qube 2.  Actually, this isn't considered “new” anymore since the Qube 2 has long been discontinued and replaced with the much more powerful Qube 3.  Also, technically, this isn't a Qube 2, but a Gateway Micro Server.  Let me explain.  Gateway rebadged the Cobalt Qube 2 and sold it under the Gateway brand as the Micro Server.  In actuality, there is no difference between the Cobalt and Gateway servers except that the Gateway version has a black cover while the Cobalt Qube has a cobalt cover.  Also, the administration software is slightly different.  I bought a Gateway Micro Server from somebody online and replaced the black cover with the cobalt cover.  Then I removed the Gateway software and installed the Cobalt Qube 2 software.  So for all intents and purposes, I have a Cobalt Qube 2.

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For those of you who are not familiar with Cobalt, they are famous for making servers based on Linux with easy to use graphical web interfaces.  Cobalt hardware is popular in webhosting centers because of the ease of administration of their servers and the minimal amount of space they take up.  Cobalt has recently been bought up by Sun.

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The Qube series is an all-in-one server appliance for small businesses or offices.  The Qube runs as a web, ftp, mail, file, discussion, storage, and backup server.  All from an easy to use graphical web interface.  All the software is already installed and pre-configured to work correctly.  I wouldn't call this article a review, because if this article were a true review, it would be 3-4 years too late.  The Qube 2 has long been replaced with the Qube 3 which is much improved.  However, many people haven't seen the guts of a Qube 2 and I'm more than happy to rip mine apart to satisfy their curiosity.  I hope this article serves to introduce people to the concept of internet server appliances.

I've been eyeing the Qube server for a few years now.  I think it looks super cool with its blue case and funky green light in front.  I liked how it didn't look like your typical computer, let alone server.  Yet it is a very capable server.  The unit itself does not have any ports for a monitor, keyboard, or mouse.  Instead, you use the LCD panel and arrows to assign the server a static IP address or if you already have a DHCP server on your network, the Qube 2 will automatically pickup a dynamic IP address.  You then configure the Qube from a networked computer using a web browser.  From out of the box to fully functional takes only about half an hour.  Now that's fast.