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Featured Articles: Consulting
## Consulting with FreeBSD
## John Sconiers <>

In early 1997, a few friends and I began to venture into the world of consulting. We had experience consulting before, however setting out on our own was a new experience. We quickly took care of legal matters such as incorporating ourselves and filing the needed paperwork but were left an even greater decision of what to use as our primary "Server OS" for our customers. In the beginning most of our clients were companies that wanted a presence on the internet as well dedicated access, email, and a small LAN. We knew we needed a solid OS, that was practical and economical and so began our search.

We first looked at NT Server but it was painfully slow and required more on site maintenance than we wanted to extend. It was not easily configurable, and sometimes built in tools didn't even work correctly. Besides there seemed to be to many exploits and the cost of software and the onslaught of its oncoming upgrades and addons made it a bad choice.

We decided to move towards a UNIX OS. This would allow us to be able to configure things quickly and required less maintenance but also provide them with a solid backbone and cheaper highly used software. We decided to stay away from proprietary non PC architecture because of the replacement cost. We tried X86-Solaris 2.6 Server, 3 distributions of Linux and of course FreeBSD along with various "standard" software like Apache, Sendmail, etc. that we wanted to run.

The Solaris box was the first to go. We liked it as a desktop but the server just wouldn't keep up with the rest of the boxes. It was missing key pieces like a compiler and other utilities. When it came down to simulating large amounts of web serving, FTP, routing etc., the box would crawl compared to others. The Linux distributions we tested were a whole lot easier to configure and came with tons of utilities. However this box while being faster than the Solaris box was not still not the performer we wanted and plus the near mention of Linux made some company executives cringe with fear.

We decided to go with FreeBSD. It not only had the industrial strength we needed but also had faster benchmarks and came with a lot of add on packages and open source that made the system rock solid. Not to mention the price was right. FreeBSD allowed us to provide a low cost high quality product that would grow with them as they grew. Dedicated, maintainable and highly configurable Servers became a reality. And as we found out consulting with FreeBSD definitely became a reality for us.

Johnathan Raymond Sconiers II

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