Learning pfSense and firewalls



  • Dear all,

    I'm quite new to firewalls and pfSense and I got the position of taking care of an organisation's servers and network. I did some mistakes in the beginning including turning off the firewall the hard way on the power button. I've found now how it should be done. Also the firewall went down on it self one time (in September last year) together with the two other servers (Windows 2008) so I suspect a power shortage from the ups was the reason. For a while now I have been suspecting something has happened with the server that the firewall is working from. It doesn't report any problem but the speed of the network is not as it once was. I have tried searching the Internet for solutions and guidance and read much about this but still haven't got it fixed. So, now I registered here and hope to find some answers. My big question is "How can I check the server for any hardware problems?" Hopefully while the firewall is still running because it is an international site and there is very limited time when I can work on this server. I've never used Linux (which for me it seems to be required to be familiar with when working with this software) and is not familiar with those commands but I'm learning. Would be greateful for any help that you can give me.

    The firewall is on a Dell Poweredge 2650 with 5 hard drives. In the system information it says in the version box: 2.1.3-release and FreeBSD 8.3-release-p16. It also says it is using 12% of 25Gb which I understand it must be some kind of virtual drive and/or Raid configuration.

    Thanks,
    Nitman



  • Since it is a Dell server chassis it should have a DRAC card. I would setup the DRAC interface and use that to remotely manage and monitor the system. Best practice is to run DRAC on its own vlan isolated from the rest of the network but that isn't strictly required unless you have some sort of regulatory compliance to meet.

    DRAC will give you fan speeds, temperature sensor readouts, drive status, voltage levels, ect… It will also let you use the console via a KVM and power the server on and off, all over the network. The DRAC card can also do SNMP which is also a good option.



  • pfSense is FreeBSD, not Linux.

    Since it is a Dell server chassis it should have a DRAC card.

    Maybe and maybe not.  It's an option, and it has licensed features.  The basic DRAC was quite limited, if I remember correctly.

    but the speed of the network is not as it once was.

    Do you mean Internet access is slow, or client to client on the LAN is slow?

    My big question is "How can I check the server for any hardware problems?"

    There should be a status LED on the front panel that will turn orange or red or flash if there is a problem.


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