Looking for pre-built system for small office



  • I'd like to find a pre-built (or at least a kit, so I wouldn't have to get all the parts myself) solution for running pfsense for a small office.  We will have no more than 10 users at the office.  We do have VOIP phones and may want to have a redundant internet connection eventually.  Our current connection is 13.5/1 and if we got a backup, it probably wouldn't perform any better than that.  I would want to setup some VPN tunnels to our data center and possibly some of our customers.

    I'd like some growth room just in case we do end up getting decent internet in our area and could bump up our connection speeds.

    I'd prefer to be around $300 or less.

    I'm considering some Netgate products:

    http://store.netgate.com/Netgate-Hamakua-DT-P230C83.aspx
    http://store.netgate.com/Netgate-m1n1wall-2D3-2D13-Black-P216C83.aspx

    But am concerned about the Netgate products because I was reading some other posts on this forum and they mentioned these projects were old and the processors were being EOL by AMD.  They also don't seem to have a lot of room for growth.

    Also considered a used Watchguard Firebox X750E, but looks like the setup on this would be kind of involved and I don't want to spend a lot of time dinking around with, I've spent enough time just researching this stuff.

    I've also considered re-purposing an old PC or even running an instance of pfsense on an ESXi server we have.  I think I'd prefer to have a dedicated appliance for this, one that didn't draw a lot of power.

    I've also found this: http://soekris.com/products/net6501/net6501-50-board-case.html

    Feedback on the above or different suggestions are very appreciated.

    Thanks.


  • Netgate Administrator

    The availability of such systems will depend on where you are.  ;) (assuming US since $)
    Netgate are very well supported though.
    However the desktop systems are engineered to be fanless. If noise is not a problem for you then you are paying for that needlessly.

    For $300 your choice is limited.  :-
    It's hard to argue with the refurbished Hamakua at that price even if the design is quite old.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    The availability of such systems will depend on where you are.  ;) (assuming US since $)
    Netgate are very well supported though.
    However the desktop systems are engineered to be fanless. If noise is not a problem for you then you are paying for that needlessly.

    For $300 your choice is limited.  :-
    It's hard to argue with the refurbished Hamakua at that price even if the design is quite old.

    Steve

    I am in the US.

    I was only going the desktop route b/c they were cheaper than the 1u, which seemed to be the only other option.  Or, am I missing something?  Noise isn't a problem for me.

    I could go up to $400 if it made a significant difference.  I was also thinking the Hamkua might be a good deal, but not sure about dropping $300 on something with a 30 day warranty.

    Thanks for your reply.



  • @rsyring:

    I was also thinking the Hamkua might be a good deal, but not sure about dropping $300 on something with a 30 day warranty.

    It's a good deal for what it is - solid performance for the price, fanless, low power consumption. Pulls around 25 watts, a quarter or less of what a typical recycled desktop PC that a lot of home users use. It may pay for itself in power savings vs. running a desktop PC.

    The concern with the 30 day warranty is legit with anything. My Hamakua died a couple months ago after about 2.5 years of flawless service. My power flickered off and back on 4 times in about 10 seconds, and it never booted again after that. It had been through probably 20 other brief power failures with no issue. It was on a surge protector, but not a UPS. Wasn't the power supply that was the issue either, it still worked fine, the box was just completely dead - lights on but nobody home. I'm not sure exactly what happened to it. If I had it on a UPS I'm guessing it'd still be working fine to this day. That same power event didn't hurt any of numerous other pieces of equipment I was running at the time so it's not like there was a major surge or something. Power flickering like that can kill any electronic gear though.

    I haven't heard of high levels of hardware failure with the Hamakuas, so it's not something I'd say to avoid because of the lack of warranty. But I would put it on a UPS from my experience of how mine died. Granted I'd recommend putting any computer and networking equipment you care about on UPS, I just didn't want to drop a pile of cash on several Kva of UPS for all the test/dev gear I run. :)


Log in to reply