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Virtual Hw Firewall...


Rotunda
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Hi all

Been playing around with the idea of a PFsence,smoothwall etc firewall long time now.

I've just purchased a Dell SX280 Ultra Small Form Factor PC, Pentium 4 2.8 with HT, 2GB RAM, and a 40GB HDD.

dell-sx280-ultra-small-pc-p4-28ghz-40gb-hard-drive-512mb.jpg

Apparently according to the ESXi 3.5 whitelist this thing will run ESXi 3.5 which is great! It's a tiny machine and if i can run 3 or 4 low spec VM's on it then great!

I plan to run x2 windows 2003 servers on it (or 2008 if i can get it to run nice on the lack of RAM), x1 Ubuntu server for local web dev and also a firewall which all my web traffic will go through.

My questions are:

Can i use a USB wifi adaptor on smoothwall/PFsence or any other u can think of?

I'm from the UK and we have differant ways to connect to the net here via the telephone... I think you US guys use RJ45?? correct me if im wrong... Is there anyway to connect my VM directly to the telephone so it is the actual router otherwise i will have to get the VM to connect via wifi to my actual router and then run 2 routers effectively which is kinda pointless..

Out of all of them which is the best?? pfsence?? smoothwall?

Cheers in advance guys! sorry if some of these questions are abit n00bish I've never set up a HW firewall before.

Edited by Rotunda
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Hi all

Been playing around with the idea of a PFsence,smoothwall etc firewall long time now.

I've just purchased a Dell SX280 Ultra Small Form Factor PC, Pentium 4 2.8 with HT, 2GB RAM, and a 40GB HDD.

dell-sx280-ultra-small-pc-p4-28ghz-40gb-hard-drive-512mb.jpg

Apparently according to the ESXi 3.5 whitelist this thing will run ESXi 3.5 which is great! It's a tiny machine and if i can run 3 or 4 low spec VM's on it then great!

I plan to run x2 windows 2003 servers on it (or 2008 if i can get it to run nice on the lack of RAM), x1 Ubuntu server for local web dev and also a firewall which all my web traffic will go through.

My questions are:

Can i use a USB wifi adaptor on smoothwall/PFsence or any other u can think of?

I'm from the UK and we have differant ways to connect to the net here via the telephone... I think you US guys use RJ45?? correct me if im wrong... Is there anyway to connect my VM directly to the telephone so it is the actual router otherwise i will have to get the VM to connect via wifi to my actual router and then run 2 routers effectively which is kinda pointless..

Out of all of them which is the best?? pfsence?? smoothwall?

Cheers in advance guys! sorry if some of these questions are abit n00bish I've never set up a HW firewall before.

I'm running a dell poweredge 2950 for virtualization (ESXi 5), and an old (Pentium 3? Might be an old Athlon XP) with pfsense. Had no issues with pfsense, easy to set up and has some cool packages to fiddle around with.

Having said that, i've had issues using USB wifi adapters (realtech, have not tried the alfa yet) in pfsense - Mostly causing crashes and requiring a hard reboot. I've heard of good things using supported hardware ( http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Supported_Wireless_Cards ), but have never done so myself.

I personally have the vendor supplied modem doing it's thing, which is then hooked up over ethernet to my pfsense firewall.

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I'd suggest Pfsense, it's got more functionality than Smoothwall. Also I'd recommend increasing the size of your RAM to at least 8 gigs if possible.

I don't think 2GB will be enough, from a performance point of view.

Edited by Infiltrator
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I'd suggest Pfsense, it's got more functionality than Smoothwall. Also I'd recommend increasing the size of your RAM to at least 8 gigs if possible.

I don't think 2GB will be enough, from a performance point of view.

I agree. Maybe 1-2 2k3 VMs will run, but it'd be pushing it to have a 2k8 box on there, in addition to a pfsense firewall and other servers.

Not to mention your storage problem, 40GB isn't going to hold many VM's. I'd recommend thin provisioning everything, but you'll hit 40GB soon enough.

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I agree. Maybe 1-2 2k3 VMs will run, but it'd be pushing it to have a 2k8 box on there, in addition to a pfsense firewall and other servers.

Not to mention your storage problem, 40GB isn't going to hold many VM's. I'd recommend thin provisioning everything, but you'll hit 40GB soon enough.

If you have the cash to burn, I'd suggest to go with a 250GB or 512GB SSD from Intel for exceptional performance.

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I'd suggest Pfsense, it's got more functionality than Smoothwall. Also I'd recommend increasing the size of your RAM to at least 8 gigs if possible.

I don't think 2GB will be enough, from a performance point of view.

that Dell SX280 can only take a max of 2gb

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that Dell SX280 can only take a max of 2gb

You could go with a proper Dell server, rather than a workstation.

Here's Pfense Hardware compatibility list, http://www.freebsd.org/releases/8.1R/hardware.html

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