When integrating many tools, one size does not fit all

Information technology administrators at Westminster, Colo., saved money by using the Untangle Gateway from Untangle to help monitor and control Internet access, but not everything worked out of the box.

“There were a few challenges regarding the configuration of it,” said John Neiberger, the city’s network administrator. “Installation went pretty smooth,” but the tools were not working for everyone on the network when IT staff members tested the gateway.

The gateway is an open-source platform that runs on a single server on the network, hosting a suite of third-party open-source and proprietary applications to handle everything from antivirus and spam blocking to load balancing. Untangle figured out how to run the applications on a single server with acceptable latency, but the tools still needed some tweaking when running on the Westminster network.

The problems were all solvable, but it was difficult to anticipate them, said David Puntenney, the city's IT director.

“There were some things about the configuration that might not be intuitive,” he said. “The problems we ran into were not very clear.”

But because there were a variety of third-party applications involved, there also was a large population of users and developers whose experience could be mined to solve problems that were not intuitive. The Westminster administrators found that the solutions were generally available from other users on the forum provided on the Untangle Web site.

“Take advantage of the support that is available,” Neiberger said. “That’s where we resolved most of our issues” without using Untangle tech support. After those initial questions were answered, “it was just a matter of installing the individual modules and tweaking them.”

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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