What to do with old ALIX boards?



  • Hello!

    I have some ALIX boards with only 128MB RAM and lots of ALIX boards with 256MB RAM. I am going to switch my customers to APU one by one.
    So I get my ALIXs back.

    How can I reduce the memory needs for pfsense to use the old boards?
    I thought about using m0n0wall but they stopped development at the beginning of this year. So this is a dead cow. Any other ideas?

    Bye,
    eweri



  • The 256 MB versions will work fine for the immediate future, as long as you don't need enough services to exhaust that amount of RAM (mostly some packages that will do that, OpenVPN likely problematic with > 5-6 client+server instances). In 2.2, the memory usage of the base system is less because of the change to php-fpm, which several have reported freed up additional RAM on their ALIX boards.

    The 128 MB RAM ones are more difficult. Without doing massive surgery, it's likely they'll run out of RAM on occasion (during boot is the biggest risk) and randomly kill processes since there's no swap. Going with a less featureful distro like DDWRT or similar is probably your best bet for 128 MB RAM. m0n0wall would run, but given it's EOL and already has a variety of unpatched security issues, that's not a good option. The WRT distros that have x86 options are the only thing that comes to mind for something actively maintained that will work reliably on that little RAM.



  • Well - I thought about DD-WRT before - I am using it at home for years now - maybe I give it a try.

    How about fl4i? Never used it before.

    Bye,
    eweri



  • Turn them into micro servers. Dhcp failover pairs and primary/backup dynamic dns for the internal network for small offices. New they're like $20 now, stick 2 in a small office to handle low load tasks that need to be always up. I'm using raspberry pi for some of that right now, they work fine.



  • @eweri:

    I thought about using m0n0wall but they stopped development at the beginning of this year. So this is a dead cow. Any other ideas?

    Not exactly. m0n0wall lives on in two forks, t1n1wall and Smallwall. Both are being worked on by former m0n0wall developers. And both have released versions based on the last m0n0wall 1.8.2 beta.

    http://www.t1n1wall.com/

    http://www.smallwall.org/



  • @eweri:

    Well - I thought about DD-WRT before - I am using it at home for years now - maybe I give it a try.

    How about fl4i? Never used it before.

    Bye,
    eweri

    I would take a look to openWRT:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Openwrt-on-a-pc/
    https://openwrt.org/



  • Donate some 256MB ones to a charitable cause? Like INF :) see my signature.
    I have a bunch of small offices that have just 2 site-to-site VPN clients up to main offices and no chance that they will ever (in the next decade) have internet speed that will max out Alix. Having some more spares/test units would be really handy.
    PM me - I can give you an INF office address in a few countries for you to send them to.



  • Hello eweri,

    you could do and install the following things as many peoples where doing it also!

    • Asterisk, Askozia, FreePBX and sell it again to your customers
    • RouterOS, OpenWRT, DD-WRT, ZeroShell, IPFire, pfSnese and sell them to private peoples
    • Linux on it and XMBC als a video recorder or DLNA
    • Linux on it and Snort or Suricata sensor or server with SMS Server tools3 for alarm over SMS
    • Linux on it and wireshark, TCPDUMP or a Syslog-ng as small Servers in smaller companies
    • RouterOS and WLAN cards as WLAN APs or Routers for your clients
    • Solaris 10 on it and build a  tclmon Server
    • Linux on it and insert a modem + SIM card to build a SMS Gateway for PRTG, tclmon, nagios, icinga,..
    • Linux + HylaFax on it and insert an ISDN Card for building a HylaFaxServer in the DMZ
    • Inserting a Soekris vpn1411 and installing pfSense or OpenWRT as an VPN Server in the DMZ
    • Linux on it and MRTG + CACTI as a Monitor for the firewall or entire Network
    • Install pfSense and use it as a Captive Portal for WLAN networks
    • Install the boxes in a computer forum where often Alix will be used (www.administrator.de)
    • Install OpenBSD + OpenBGPD for smaller BGP routers
    • Install Linux and Ubiquiti´s WLAN Controller software as a Wireless Lan Controller

    Im sure there will be a solution for you to use them longer and/or resell them!




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