Atom setup capable of this?
We're branching out into a whole new arena here and I need some advice. Customer is installing 50/10 Comcast connection in college apartment buildings. 40 units in each building with 1-2 ethernet ports in each apartment. I know a dual core atom board will handle the throughput, but thinking about the possibilities of bittorrenting and QoS and whatever the hell college kids do, should I look at something beefier? No captive portal will be needed initially, but the possibility is there. If a dual core atom won't work, can you recommend something else in a 1U setup?
You'll want a good sized state table on that box for sure to handle the possibility of tons of residents bittorrenting. Bittorrent will eat up so many connections.
That is one of my main concerns. I'm looking at putting 4GB of ram into the atom setup if I go with that. I did notice some DL360's selling on eBay for under $300 with dual Xeons and 4GB of ram as well. I'm leaning towards the DL360 setup at this point as it's server-grade hardware and the conditions these boxes are put into service might not be ideal environmentally.
If you aren't partial to HPs, a bunch of Dell 1750s go on eBay a lot for low prices.
I've got a few 1750's sitting around not doing much of anything at one of our offices. I might see what the specs of them are.
I wouldn't know why an Atom-based server wouldn't be sufficient for this kind of setup. Modern Atom boards take up to 4GB of memory, so IMHO would scale well enough for theis type of scenario. I guess 2GB would be sufficient even. Of course a regular entry level 1U server will probably be cheaper, especially if you have something laying around somewhere doing nothing. The only real advantage of an Atom-based server is dat it probably roughly uses less than half the power a normal 1U server does. If power conspumption is not of your concern, then there's no need looking at an Atom-based server of course.
I got a bit more information, the initial building has 15 units in it, each with a homerun run down to the main data closet. I'm thinking a vlan for each unit (they have 5-8 ports/unit off a distribution panel installed in each unit) and then a 24-port switch with vlans configured.
Also, these units will be in non-climate controlled environments at times, so that is another variable. It's around 90 degrees Fahrenheit down here now so the closets could get up to 120 degrees at times.
To give you an idea (and I would not use this as a conclusive study)
I run a celeron 1.33ghz system with 1gb ram and a 500gig hdd (smallest enterprise drive I could get brand new easily) - running about 5 clients around my home.
For reference the board info is here: http://resources.mini-box.com/online/MBD-I-D201GLY/intel-d201gly-power-consumption.html
The drive is a seagate, only reason I chose it is my partner (g/f) explodes whenever the net goes down for any reason at all and because the motherboard + sata adapter can only handle a single drive, I expect it to last a while.
When running squid with 250mb (very excessive) worth of ram cache, snort, and traffic shaper, and a few torrents, I'm running 2500~ connections/states - Which equates to a total of about 30% (give or take about 2%) memory usage. CPU load peaks at about 8% but usually stays around 2-4%.
I have set pfsense up for 500,000 states, but I sincerely doubt that I will reach this. I do want to test with Vuze(which seems to be the worst, with lots of states if you use the ono plugin) but I suspect even with that the box won't even break a sweat.
If you suspect torrent usage I highly recommend the traffic shaper. No matter how heavy the connection is being used, it's nice and speedy for browsing/mail etc.
For some comparative numbers, the 1.6 ghz atom is about 70-80% as fast as the celeron while using a little less power.
I ended up buying a HP DL360 off ebay for a bit over $200 with 2 75GB scsi drives, 2x3.4Ghz Xeons, 4GB ram, and dual PSU's. I'm going to up the states in PFSense and definitely use QoS for this test model.
I've got a meeting with the apartment buildings owner next week where we will hammer out the details of the setup.
Also take a look at building a system from the Supermicro X7SPA-HF Atom ITX board.
Atom D510 (Dual Core)
2 x Intel Gigabit LAN
Up to 4GB RAM
IPMI "Lights Out" management.
I currently have one with a SATA-> CF adapter and it's great! No moving parts. I'm also using VLANs and everything works well.