Home server network redundancy



  • Hello, I'm planning to set up a small home network with redundancy but I'm completely new to this kind of networking.
    I will be hosting virtual servers with volumes on NAS and some web servers.

    This is a scheme of what I have planned. Currently I have only 1 WAN connection but I want extensibility in the future for 2nd wan connection with 2nd pfsense box.

    So firstly, does my scheme make sense at all? Is it possible to make such network?
    Switches have to support STP as I know, but can I make both switches to load balance? This way I would have 2gbps connection to NAS
    Are there any cheap solutions for >1gbps connection to NAS? SFP fiber seems to be quite expensive.

    Thanks

    P.S. pf now makes sense! Thx for this great piece of software :)



  • Ambitious :D

    usually you would connect to the network on one side and on the other side to the storage, not connecting over the same switches. Not really recommended for high performance anyway, but in your situation it might be ok?

    Something like this (pic from my hosting provider, i know, not exactly home use, but hey).
    http://www.cloudvps.com/cloud-servers/cloud-hosting/
    Two switches on the top, cross-connected to 2 pfSense boxes and then 2 storage switches at the bottom, cross-connected between the NASes and VM hosts.

    In you setup you could maybe setup 2 LANs (on on top and one on the bottow) and then do MCS/MPIO iSCSI between the VM hosts and the NASes?

    For cheap interconnects I was looking at infiniband, but haven't got the stuff yet myself. 10GbE is still expensive for home use if you ask me.



  • Completely absurd for a home setup, but if that makes you happy…enjoy.

    STP is the opposite of load sharing. Excess links are identified and disabled, only being used if they become non-excess through failure of other links.

    Depending what you want, SFPs can be absurdly cheap, but either you want 10Gb (which isn't cheap yet) or you are shopping wrong (needs to be used and common to be cheap. And you need to know what you are shopping for or you can get burned easily.) I got the bulk of the 50 or so I use in my campus network for $5.79 each. Unless your network is leaving the building, I would not suggest it - fiber is a big win at long distances and when exposed to lighting (i.e. between buildings) copper is just spiffy inside any reasonably sized house (100 meters or less, not exposed to the outside.)

    With or without "absurd at home levels of redunancy (and mostly-needless expense you could do better things with)" greater than 1Gb connections can be had by trunking between switches. That also provides wire-level "redundancy" (if 1 wire/cable/fiber in a trunk goes down, the trunk stays up at reduced capacity.) Typical smart switches permit trunking as many as 8 ports together.

    I do NOT know if you could get a pfsense box (or NAS box) to trunk several LAN adapters - I've only done trunking between switches that support it. I haven't seen anything obvious in the configuration of pfsense or nas4free (my current NAS) that would support that. However,  I have not specifically looked for it.

    If your NAS supports Fiberchannel (aka fibrechannel) you could use a fiberchannel connection from the server to the NAS. That could be done with surplus parts for $30 or so at 2Gb/s, or possibly 4Gb/s - much faster than that gets to be "not very surplus" and therefore "very expensive." At which point putting the disks on the server local probably makes more sense than NAS. 4Gb FC SFPs are easy, it's the host adapters you might need to shop harder for (I'm aware of 2Gb/s units at $10, have not looked for 4Gb ones recently) and I'm not sure what NAS operating systems support them.



  • Thank you for replies.

    I forgot to mention that I will be using NFS NAS instead of iSCSI. Easier to configure and use.

    I will probably stay away from optics and use conventional gigabit ethernet if I could setup NAS to load balance with failsafe. I googled and found thing called TRILL but there aren't much information about it on google. So there is no easy way to have load balancing with failsafe?



  • @Ecnerwal:

    I do NOT know if you could get a pfsense box (or NAS box) to trunk several LAN adapters - I've only done trunking between switches that support it. I haven't seen anything obvious in the configuration of pfsense or nas4free (my current NAS) that would support that. However,  I have not specifically looked for it.

    Interfaces –> assign --> LAGG is what you probably want.
    You have the whole range of options you usually have with the better switches.



  • Why?

    Thats all the reaction I have so far…



  • @chemicstry:

    So there is no easy way to have load balancing with failsafe?

    Yes there is, get a switch, NAS and server that supports Link Aggregation (802.3ad), you can bond multiple 1Gig, including failover if links die. You can then run NFS over that bonded link.

    This won't protect you from a switch dying, or your internet, or router.

    That brings us to redundancy:
    It all depends on how redundant you want things, how much performance you need and what you need redundant.
    What are the requirements?

    @Ecnerwal:

    I haven't seen anything obvious in the configuration of nas4free (my current NAS) that would support that. However,  I have not specifically looked for it.

    It does, it's what I use.

    @kejianshi:

    Why?

    Thats all the reaction I have so far…

    I just think redundancy at home is a bit silly, especially if you only have one WAN and power source. Regardless, I'm running single WAN, dual firewall with CARP, LAGs between switches/server/NAS, OSFP, multiple VLAN, multiple SSID? Why, because I can :) for practice, fun ;D

    BTW, I see some good info/suggestions, but there isn't a lot of info from the OP, so we have to guess a bit at what he wants exactly…



  • Yeah - At home, I run RAID of RAIDS for data storage.  A RAID 0 of RAID 0s for speed and a RAID 1 (that stays offline unless I'm backing up my RAID 0 so some genius can't get in and wipe all my drives+backups).  SAMBA for sharing with HTTPS file server and streaming media server for me, friends, family and people I sorta know. All that on a VM on a desktop that is a full time user terminal.  So, seriously sparse resources to my file share server…  1GB and 1 core.  And yet it has never come close to being strained.

    Thats why I wonder about these intricate ubber-blazing resource hungry FreeNAS setups.  Using internet to connect to it, it will never see even 5% use.

    But, if its just to play with, I can understand.



  • @kejianshi:

    Yeah - At home, I run RAID of RAIDS for data storage.  A RAID 0 of RAID 0s for speed and a RAID 1 (that stays offline unless I'm backing up my RAID 0 so some genius can't get in and wipe all my drives+backups).  SAMBA for sharing with HTTPS file server and streaming media server for me, friends, family and people I sorta know. All that on a VM on a desktop that is a full time user terminal.  So, seriously sparse resources to my file share server…   1GB and 1 core.  And yet it has never come close to being strained.

    Thats why I wonder about these intricate ubber-blazing resource hungry FreeNAS setups.  Using internet to connect to it, it will never see even 5% use.

    But, if its just to play with, I can understand.

    Yes, average usage will likely be ~5% but I need those 2gbps of burst speed for file copying, moving volumes etc.

    I'm doing this for fun and to learn about such setups. If it succeeds, maybe I will move to larger scale, who knows…

    @SeventhSon:

    Yes there is, get a switch, NAS and server that supports Link Aggregation (802.3ad), you can bond multiple 1Gig, including failover if links die. You can then run NFS over that bonded link.

    This won't protect you from a switch dying, or your internet, or router.

    That brings us to redundancy:
    It all depends on how redundant you want things, how much performance you need and what you need redundant.
    What are the requirements?

    That's the problem. If I want load balancing I don't have any switch redundancy.

    If there's no easy way to do this I will go with failsafe instead of performance. I just want to squeeze max out of 1gbps ethernet as 10gbps is quite expensive.



  • again, if you want switch and link redundancy, 2Gbps burst, you can have a look at MCS/MPIO iSCSI, I don't think you can do that with NFS.
    but, if you expect actual 2Gbit bursts, that could easily starve other traffic, hence the separate side for the storage network.

    anyway your setup is possible, there are a lot of things to think about though once you start talking about performance and redundancy.



  • "Yes there is, get a switch, NAS and server that supports Link Aggregation (802.3ad)"

    I got a 24 port one for $30 with 4 additional 1000base-sx optical transceivers on board (-:

    If I got it any cheaper I'd need a mask and a pistol…

    I suppose I could make a NAS with 4 x gigabit optical connection LACP on my nearly-stolen switch > rest of my network...

    But it would idle.  Its depressing enough always seeing my pfsense sitting at 0-1% cpu utilization.  haha.

    But I also do love to tinker.  I'll be happy to hear how it turns out.



  • @kejianshi:

    If I got it any cheaper I'd need a mask and a pistol…

    Or in my case, get them for free, because you work for the people who make them ;-)



  • I see. - It "Fell off the truck" on the way to delivery…

    That makes these little projects so much easier doesn't it?



  • Ehh, they're beta units and for testing (and usually don't want them back) or old lab equipment.

    Anyway, sorry OP for the hijack, I hope you got some more info anyway  :D



  • I was a bit busy with some irl stuff and getting server hardware but now I'm back again to network.

    After hours of googling I found a thing called VRRP. There's not much info about VRRP but I think my setup could be possible with it (?)

    Do you guys know anything about that?

    I'm already thinking of going without network redundancy. What's the chance that a switch will burn out? In worst case I will replace it in a few hours.



  • VRRP is CARP.
    Well almost. VRRP is the cisco implementation, CARP came a bit later and is the opensource implementation of the same functionality (redundancy). Actually CARP is a bit more since it offers encryption.


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