Marvell has a marvelous plug computer

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For a while, I have been searching for a really miniature computer which I could use as an “always on device” to manage various tasks within my home network. Like act as a media repository, file share for home office, manages automatic backups for all PCs on the network and even acts like a small firewall against possible intruders. Marvell plug computer seems to be all that and more.

This little device, called SheevaPlug, is literally built into the power socket. It sports a nice little Gigabit Ethernet for communications and USB interface for external device connections (storage for example). According to Marvell, the device has a Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz CPU equipped with 512MB of flash and 512MB of DRAM.

There are also some wonderful commercial uses as well. Here are a few that I would like to use it for:

  • At Trade Shows, no need to carry numerous bulky laptops/PCs/Servers. The organization can carry a bunch of these plug-computers and be in business within minutes.
  • For demos at client location, these plug computers can run applications right off the device and therefore no need to carry luggage around.
  • Act as a miniature firewall within the office environment
  • Act as a small file server for the office
  • Act as a proxy server for all internet traffic
In the coming years, the possibility of other vendors getting into this market including big boys like Cisco who may convert some of its Linux based Linksys devices into miniature servers. And most of them might be powered by Linux OS similar to Damn Small Linux distribution. That will give developers an awesome platform to program and distribute their applications.
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