ESXI - pfsense and FreeNAS
I have been poking around thinking about building a much better router for solid OpenVPN performance as well as potentially including a NAS server using FreeNAS.
I have seen some people dont think its a good idea to run both pfsense and freeNAS on the same hardware even if it is separate through ESXI. While it seems some opinions are it does not matter with a properly configured system. Keep in mind this is for a home network setup.
What are some of the major issues with running both pfsense and freeNAS (or other NAS distro) on the same hardware? Can they be mitigated? Im sorry but Im a bit of a newb to this and I am trying to figure out if this is feasible so I can pick the appropriate hardware.
I believe the main benefit to FreeNAS is ZFS RAIDZ2. For that I like to give FreeNAS physical access to the disks. This pretty much precludes me from running it virtualized.
Says who? Just raw map them, I give windows raw access to disks in my esxi box, its a simple command.. I just use stablebit drive pool, I see little use of raid of any sort in the home, or than maybe 0 there is little use of parity for anything storage items in the home. But direct access to the disk is good for more than running raidz2, etc.
"I have seen some people dont think its a good idea run both pfsense and freeNAS on the same hardware even if it is separate through ESXI"
Who says this - nonsense.. I run all kinds of things as other vms on the same hardware my router pfsense is running on.. Not the freaking NSA secret headquarters or the dod nuke launch code storage facility ;)
I get great performance to an from my storage vm to my network.. I like the raw map not only for the performance but that my vm os then has access to the smart info and can run scanner that keeps eye on the disk for me, etc.
I would not install all kinds of services like that on my pfsense box, its suppose to be a firewall not running all kinds of other services - which is why doing it on say a esxi box is so great your other services you need like vm, plex box, whatever you just run as a different vm.
I see little use of raid of any sort in the home, or than maybe 0 there is little use of parity for anything storage items in the home.
On this we'll just have to disagree I guess.
What are you storing that requires parity? I can understand backup for sure - this is given, I have multiple copies of home video and pictures. Both local disks, and other media (multiple locations) and in the cloud. But my video library for example in the TBs of data sure and the hell does not need to be available 24/7/365.. Its not mission critical if those files are available to the network, or even backed up. Since have the original on optical, can always be reripped. I have no concern for its replacement. It might not even warrant replacement in the library since have really already seen the movie, etc. Raid is not backup anyway, etc. I don't see how it applies to the sort of files in a home?
What sort of mission critical files do you have in the home that require the expenditure of cash to provide parity to mitigate down time on the loss of hardware? Very curious! Is it a just a hobby and something you enjoy doing? If so I understand that - but any dollar spend on providing parity could actually be spent on more storage if you ask me in the home. Or actual backup?? Will your family disown you if the media library is offline if a disk crashes?
If my whole esxi box burned up, to get back on network I could always fire up an old soho router laying around, or go to the store and get one, or fire up vm on my desktop to run pfsense on until such time esxi host could be rebuilt. Worse case use hotspot on my phone, etc. And that is if lost the whole thing, if disk crashed that contained VMs, I could reboot esxi via usb and use another disk for datastore, just move some files around or go to the store and pickup new ssd. Not like anything would be down for any extended period. So what justifies the cost of the spinning real time parity to restore files on loss of a disk?
Several terabytes of stuff I would rather not have to rebuild due to a simple disk failure.
My home data storage policy is just different from yours. You can stop trying to convince me I have built too much data protection into my home storage.
As someone who lost a lot of personal data due to a backup that validated just fine but then threw a data corruption error on restore after a disk went bad (thanks Norton Ghost!), I'll take RAID AND backup for $100, Alex.
Agreed if you want parity, its your money and your files.. Go for it.. As to backup with Norton Ghost?? So an image, of the whole disk is not how I would backup "files"..
Maybe your files are different, but my online copy of all the xfiles episodes and star trek TOS while I like to have them at my fingertips don't justify cost of parity ;)
So an image, of the whole disk is not how I would backup "files".
I prefer the flexibility of an image-based backup. I can restore individual files with ease already, but a bare-metal recovery takes an hour, not several.
but my online copy of all the xfiles episodes and star trek TOS while I like to have them at my fingertips don't justify cost of parity
So where do you keep them then? A stack of DVDs higher than your roof? Hard disks are cheap.
Too bad this thread devolved into a pissing match.
Parity and redundancy = good… When your data and time is important. And you want to be proactive.
Yoman, you still out there ? or did these tools scare you away ?
supoermicro atom c2758 with 16-32-64gb ddr3L ecc (depending on the freenas pool size)
or did these tools scare you away ?
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Hmmm….. what was that about tools? Get back to us when you've managed to actually help someone, ok?
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That karma is already outdated… ;D ;D ;D
Pissing match? It was a side discussion about the use of parity in home setting. He has his views I have mine - sure and the F was not a pissing match.
Getting back on track: I run mdadm raid 6 at home using Ubuntu and pfsense on the same box using ESXi 6.
I have no drops in performance, and have sorted out pass through (vt-d/iommu) of a hard drive controller (m1015 in IT mode) to Ubuntu an one of the nics from an i350-T4 to the pfsense VM for the wan.
My hardware is as follows:
Asrock B85m Pro4 motherboard
14 gig of ram (using 7; 4 for Linux and caching, 2 for pfsense, extra is for work)
i5-4570t which I picked up from eBay cheap
M1015 hard drive controller (Lsi 9211-8t)
Load is very low (1-10% usually). Measured load at idle with 7 disks spinning, 4 fans and an average power supply is 85w (45w with the disks spun down)
So yes it can be done
Key things to observe are:
1. Use a separate interface for the management network if possible
2. Passthrough your wan port directly to the pfsense if possible to prevent the hyper visor touching it for security reasons(see later posts in this thread)
3. Use the virtio package in pfsense and the core-VM package in Linux (I believe the same exists for bsd, hence the virtio package).
2. Passthrough your wan port directly to the pfsense if possible to prevent the hyper visor touching it for security reasons
Is this really recommended?
Don't know if it's recommended to others, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Means any potential security issues with ESXi vswitches won't affect the other stuff on the box.
Security issues with vswitches? On your wan?
No I have never seen that recommended anywhere. There is no issue with using a vswitch to connect your wan to pfsense. Expect for those with really really tight tinfoil hats maybe ;)
straightens tinfoil hat
Still if you can do it, why not? Are you intending to use that physical port for any other purpose at the same time?
If you have pass through available, I don't see any logical reason not to, aside from a fringe case where pfsense doesn't have drivers for your nic where your hypervisor does.
Why not because it makes the setup more complicated - so why do it.. It doesn't buy you anything other than more complication if you ask me.. It sure not buying you any added "security"
It is less trouble setting up direct path than it is a new vswitch, but hey, just go with what works for you
that is your opinion. Go with what works for you - but if you ask my opinion having vswitches tied to your specific nics with them labeled is much easier to manage then worried about what what specific nic is passed through to a specific vm.
Also very difficult to passthru a multiport nic and use one port as passthru and another port tied to a vswitch for use with other vms or lan side of your router vm.
When phyical tied to a vswitch I can bring up different copies of pfsense or other router distros tied to the vswitch and switch between them pretty much just turning off one vm and turning on different vm. Very easy to leverage port 1 for vswitch X and port 2 for vswitch Y, etc. etc. Especially if I use the same mac on my router vm wan vnics.. My public IP doesn't even change that way.. I can bring up different version of pfsense or untangle or ipcop or any of the other router/firewall distros in a matter of couple of minutes. Shutdown vm 1, turn on vm 2 and now my network is using different firewall/router distro for testing, etc.
When tied to a vswitch I can connect any vm I want to the "wan" for say sniffing the traffic seen on the wan.. So I can use stuff like ntop or ids to monitor that traffic without having to run it on my pfsense vm.
To me your making it more complicated and reduced functionality for some perceived added security.
physical passthru also makes it difficult to use any sort of vmotion. Which I am currently not using in my home setup, but clearly passthru reduces the feature set of a Visualization setup.
physical passthru also makes it difficult to use any sort of vmotion.
I was just going to mention this part. No real benefit for passthrough but a major drawback.
Ok I stand corrected - and appreciate the dialogue!