back to article Monitor your data center with a coffee mug-sized server

Plat'Home is a curious Japanese company that seems intent on cracking the US market with its weird brand of tiny Linux servers. This week, it has offered the land of the free and the home of the brave the KANSHI Blocks Pro 6.0.1 device, which is a coffee mug-sized monitoring server. Shot of the Plat'Home device Coffee Mug …


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  1. pctechxp


    Monitoring two networks at once thanks to two ethernet connections.

    So this configuration would assume that you had a third network used for monitoring and control then rather than the live LAN plugged into one port and your control LAN plugged into the other?

    So presumably this thing sends a mail using its own SMTP server over the remaining functioning network then?

    lot to pay for a monitoring box if it does run without fans.

    Think I'd stick to Nagios

  2. Solomon Grundy

    104°F of heat.

    That's not very hot you know. A single floor office building with a flat roof can easily exceed that temperature on a bright day if the A/C isn't working.

  3. go
    Thumb Up

    I wish....

    They'd let me blow that chart up, frame it and put it up in our office, then I could use it to train newbies "Red = bad, green = good!"

    Thankfully I never have to read alerts, a handy little outlook rule puts them all in my deleted items!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes it has an SMTP Server

    "So presumably this thing sends a mail using its own SMTP server over the remaining functioning network then?" -> Yes it does. (Disclosure: I work there)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are those daisies in the lower right of the chart? Flowers and joy because your problem is fixed sooner? How odd.

  6. tom carbert-allen
    Thumb Down

    over priced

    I use tiny home routers which run linux for this task, for a hardware cost of around £40 a piece, for this price I install two in each rack (bottom and top) were the redundancy overcomes the cheap nature of the hardware (although I haven't seen one fail yet).

    Replacing the firmware with a more capable distribution is a 15 minute job and configuring monitoring application another 30 minutes. The major bonus on top of cost is that you can monitor anything you like without having to hope for vendor support, I even wrote scripts to monitor a closed access control system based purely on observation of expected traffic patterns.

    Even if you don't have the skills to make this unit yourself, you can hire a good contractor (Iike me :-) to make you one of these at home and post it to you for less than the price of this unit, they copy it as many times as you like yourself.

  7. Louis Cowan

    remote working

    Why can't the administrator without this device log in remotely to fix the problem? Why are there flowers all of a sudden?? Does the monitoring server do this?

    Do they sell robo-gardeners?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Yes it has an SMTP Server

    I'd be looking for another job then, as that's the biggest (smallest?) pile of tat I've seen this week.

  9. Marvin the Martian
    Thumb Down

    @Solomon Grundy

    100F=body temperature, so 104F= fever.

    I think you legally get to close your office once it gets above 30C; conditions have improved since Dickens, you know. Even in the warmest office, I'm thinking it's not so hard to find a corner that doesn't reach this temp.

  10. Dave
    Thumb Down

    Or, more cheaply...

    Just buy a Linksys NSLU2 (or similar), reflash it with Debian and apt-get all the bits you need to do what this thing does. 50 quid or so, that.

  11. Wize


    "...which is a coffee mug-sized monitoring server."

    "...this pint-sized product to..."

    Pint sized coffee mug? Must have that caffeine fix.

  12. Gordon Grant

    Stuff like this out already...

    Hmm stuff like this out already, use it here at work, works wonderfully well we call it "Mutiny" monitors the network - route up /down.

    routers - status of service, service / memory load

    servers - memory load / processor load etc..

    basically fully remote total management can even monitor UPS's connected to servers I believe - comes with a nice customisable multi-user / multi-view GUI.

    The view I use only has the various remote sites my company including a few ADSL links, all works.

    Used to have something else but the service kept crashing out or not restarting with the server it was on, etc..

    Agree 104° F isn't that warm really mind you if it's that warm in the comms room the AC has failed and so will some of the systems as they'll get well beyond that really fast with no AC... my home PC CPU hits 140° F under full load, so you guys work it out.

  13. Anonymous Coward
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    And this is newsworthy why?

    I wonder why, amongst all the low-power embedded products, The Register singled out this one. At 1400 USD the Plat'Home box is HOPELESSLY OVERPRICED. The Japanese have a word for that: BOROMOHKE.

    We are a foreign owned Japanese company in Tokyo which integrates small embedded systems for various applications. We have tested all the Plat'Home "Blocks" products since the first one in the late 1990s (called OpenBlocks back then) and they continuously lose out when compared with other such products from non-Japanese suppliers.

    At around 200 USD, the (Californian) Soekris micro servers (Net55xx line) are already considered pricey in the market, but they cost only a fraction of the Plat'Home Blocks products. Even then they are more powerful, consume less electricity and the cases are less bulky (slimline versus brick).

    The (Swiss) PC Engines micro servers (ALIX line) use the same AMD Geode LX800 CPU (x86 compatible) as the Soekris, but they are only about 100+ USD and their ultra slim aluminium cases use up less space than the xBlocks. PC Engines also deliver a heavy duty mast-mountable outdoors case.

    These are only two alternative suppliers which have better products at a fraction of Plat'Home prices. Look around and you will find that there are many many more. You will also find that the Plat'Home product is the least interesting one of the lot. I really don't understand how The Register gets so excited about it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    there's a lower temperature limit, here in good ol' blighty, but no upper. Hence last summer we were working in an office approaching 40 degrees C. Well, not really working, at those temperatures

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Wiernicki

    They look more like sunflowers to me.

  16. K
    Thumb Up

    lol ...104°F of heat.

    I can see the alert email now.. "Hope your having a nice day! btw your rack is melting!"..

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