Help needed - Installing pfsense 2.1 on Alix (HARD DISK only)

  • Hi,

    Since I plan to configure our pfsense as a public Wifi router with access and usage logging, I connected a 60Gb hard disk onto an IDE to SATA converter for an Alix 2d3 PC Engines board.

    The final goal is avoiding a CF and install pfsense 2.1 on hard drive in order to be able to use squid an other modules that are not working on a read-only filesystem.

    I've got several questions :-)

    1. Which distribution should I choose ? This is an embedded PC but equipped with hard disk. So : embedded or regular LiveCD ?

    2. How to install ? I could connect the hard drive to my PC, boot from the liveCD and install but I guess there will device ID differences (like ad0 <> da0). Should I install then reboot and log to the terminal, mount the hard drive and modify the /etc/fstab file ?

    3. If I'm not wrong, I should also disable dma by adding"0" in the /boot/loader.conf file. Right ?

    4. What's the best way to partition and sub-partition the 60Gb hard drive ? I heared that there was problem with partitions >4Gb. I'd also like to be able to switch from one "slice" to another for the upgrade procedures. Last but not least, I'd like a big partition that Squid will use to store the big log files, though I could decide to store those files on an external USB thumb drive. We'll see later.

    5. Any other remark or advice ?

    In return I'll make a complete Howto procedure (why not in the wiki) for the others trying that kind of configuration.

    Thanks for your help !


  • Anybody ? I know some aspects are more related to the BSD system than the pfsense itself, but I'm new to this OS.

  • Netgate Administrator

    1. Choose the regular install. However by default that will use VGA/keyboard for its console so….

    2. Install to the HD on a different machine, one that has a CD drive, keyboard and monitor!, and configure one interface. Boot into pfSense and enable the serial console. Move the HD back to the Alix (I confess I'm not familiar with any quirks the the ALix might have regarding HD booting) and boot, it will fail at the mountroot> prompt. Point it at the correct path for root then edit the fstab once booted.

    3. You can but why do you want to? You're going to want DMA if you're using the drive as a squid cache.

    4. Some machines have an issue booting from large partitions but most don't. Stick with the standard partition scheme unless you  have good reason to change.

    I've never tried that on an Alix so maybe there's some some workarounds to be done that I don't know about.  ;)


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