PCI Single-Board-Computer as a NIC?



  • Hi all,

    the older guys here may remember the industry PCI-SBC's that are complete computers on a PCI Card, that plug into a case with just a PSU and a PCI-Backplane:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-board_computer
    http://www2.advantech.com/products/1-2jkn7b/pci-7032/mod_2b0c1cae-2197-4d35-937e-4e7e4aa80ed7.aspx

    I have a use case, where it would be great to put a pfsense into a Server that goes into an external Datacenter.

    The main problem with the models i found i would expect, is, that these cards are intended for PCI-Backplanes, not normal mainboards, at least the card from Advantech is a PCI-Busmaster.

    Now, what i'm actually looking for, is a PCI (or PCIe) SBC, that has a PCI-Bridge that exposes an ethernet-card to the host-server, so pfsense would sit between the ("emulated") NIC and the physical NIC's on the SBC-Bracket (so the internal NICs on the Server would not be used at all).

    Anyone ever came across something like that…?

    /hp



  • I haven't heard of anyone yet attempting to run pfSense on a board like that, but I do know other companies make some specifically for a firewall application. i.e. the mGuard PCI/PCIe models



  • In older days we where installing a host OS on one server, and then other operating systems
    were be installed in VMs and each VM was getting one PCI card with CPU and RAM on the card.

    So yes for sure you could install on the server a host OS and then pfSense in one VM that gets
    "his hands on" this hardware, but why you should do this?

    If you have a Core i3/5/7 or E3 or E5 CPU system it would be enough to run virtual pfSense
    on Hyper-V or ESXi, today there is no need of this cards for visualization, but if there
    is a CFcard or SD card slot on the card you could run pfSense on each card itself if the hardware
    will be supported by pfSense! Then you could run more then one pfSense in a bigger server as
    well, but once more again, why??? Today you could go with a LANNER FW-899x appliance and
    ESXi or Hyper-V and install several VMs with pfSense.



  • @hpmueller:

    Now, what i'm actually looking for, is a PCI (or PCIe) SBC, that has a PCI-Bridge that exposes an ethernet-card to the host-server, so pfsense would sit between the ("emulated") NIC and the physical NIC's on the SBC-Bracket (so the internal NICs on the Server would not be used at all).

    Anyone ever came across something like that…?

    Well, if such a hardware would exist, I'd definitely be interested too.



  • @BlueKobold:

    If you have a Core i3/5/7 or E3 or E5 CPU system it would be enough to run virtual pfSense
    on Hyper-V or ESXi, today there is no need of this cards for visualization,

    As above - Modern enterprise grade hypervisors are very secure, there is no need for a pci-single board computer these days.