Running PFSense of old HP DL380 G4

  • I'm contemplating replacing an old firewall with a PFSense box. I don't have much in the way of a hardware budget, but I happen to have a HP DL380 G4 server laying around not being used.

    It has the following hardware:

    • 2x gigabit NICs (I forgot to get the dmesg when I tested to see if it will boot, but it was using the BGE driver).
    • 2x 36GB 15000RPM Ultra320 drives in RAID1
    • 1GB RAM
    • 1 x 3.4GHz Xeon (I believe it is a 7200m)

    If needed I can probably do the following (depends on what people recommend):

    • Increase RAM to 4GB
    • Put some intel 1000 / PRO NICs in it.

    Do you this sufficient for the following:

    • Firewall, NAT, DHCP on a 100Mbps connection
    • OpenVPN for 5-10 remote users
    • Snort

    P.S. I know this is not an energy-efficient setup.

  • I would beef up the ram to 4 gigs if you can since snort eats up alot of it.

    The network cards should be ok but wouldn't hurt to use Intels.

    Yeah definitely not energy efficient but once you have a proof of concept going maybe be able to get a hardware budget for better hardware later.

  • Upgrade the 1G RAM for sure, get ECC RAM if you can.
    Also you may consider removing the RAID expansion card with drives and booting/running from USB key; this will help with your power, noise; and most importantly IRQ/resource management by the BIOS when you install the 2 Intel NIC's (which you should also do). I used to run pfSense on a HP similar to this.

  • Thanks for the responses. I’ve pulled extra unneeded hardware from the server, ordered 4GB ECC RAM for $15, and put in the intel NICs. I'll also test squid. I imagine the iops from those 15000 rpm drives should be good enough.

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