Transitioning to pfsense

  • I'm in the planning stages of transitioning from my current gateway appliance to pfsense. I've searched the forums and found solutions/configurations to the questions I have and solutions to the limitations I currently have. I'm hoping to have a clear plan in place before I order hardware and get to it. I'm rapidly filling up a notebook. Of course, there will be something I have not foreseen, but from what I can tell, the forums are pretty good at lending a hand to panicked newbies.

    I'm 99% set on using a Supermicro 5018D-FN4T. It's more than I need for my 200/20 service but I am justifying it as a useful server for other purposes should my current vender get their act together. I also should be good-to-go for Gb service when that happens at some point, other than VPN at line speed.

    My one open issue is this. Currently I can pull the power from my gateway with no ill effects. I have my UPS (APC) connected to my NAS (QNAP) by USB and it will put itself into a safe state after 10 minutes and then reboot when the power returns. Everything else (gateway, switches, cable modem, pi-hole) stay up until the UPS battery is drained. I very rarely have an extended outage but I have a lot of "flickering" that last longer than the capacitors in the power supplies can bridge.

    The hardware supports 1 M.2 drive and up to 4 2.5" drives if I forgo an add-on card. I will setup UPS monitoring and figure out the master/slave relationship with the NAS, however, as best I can tell that may not 100% reliable. What would be the way to go that could be seen as a best practice? Will ZFS be resilient or am I at the mercy of the UPS monitoring and a graceful shutdown and restart when power returns?


  • What UPS software have u used that's not reliable?

  • Not the pfsense NUT package other than what I can follow along in the forum for that package. Looks like it is under active development. I edited my question to be clearer. Please do NOT infer any criticism of that package, I have zero first hand experience.

    I have had no end of issues with the QNAP NAS and getting it to restart reliably. My attempts at using apcuspd with various linux boxes has been a mixed bag. Most likely MY user error, that's why I want to take every precaution ahead of time and get my pfsense right the first time.

    As best I can tell using zfs on a single drive and getting NUT setup correctly will make the gateway as resilient to power outages as possible.

    Any ideas to the contrary are most welcome.



    What UPS software have u used that's not reliable?

  • Fairly new to the Linux world, seems to me lots of stuff are version 0.xx and suggest not fully stable, regardless there are only 2 choices for pFsense right, NUT or APCUPSD. Try them and see if they work for you.

    Am using APCUPSD and notice there are lots of parameters to configure and haven't had the patience to fine tune mine to make sure it works as expected as my power outs are rare and power usually comes back before battery runs out.  APCUPSD master-slave is relatively simple. the Master is configured just like a standalone. And the Slaves, instead of listening to a cable (serial/usb) are configured as NET and poll the Master at intervals for status.

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