Question regarding mail and dns server on Alix/Soekris?

Luke Dean LukeD at
Wed Apr 9 07:18:43 UTC 2008

On Mon, 7 Apr 2008, David Duong wrote:
> I'm planning to redoing my home network.  I currently have one server 
> (Opteron 170) that is currently a NAS, Email, and DNS server (btw, the main 
> OS is FreeBSD).  I was thinking of purchasing an Alix2c3/Soekris 5501 and use 
> it as a Email + DNS server.  Then dedicate my main server as a FreeBSD NFS 
> server.
> My question is, has anyone installed a mail + DNS server on a ALIX/Soekris 
> PC?  If so, is it able to handle the load?

I received a Soekris 4801 for Christmas 2005.  I put FreeBSD 6 on it. 
It's my home network's gateway to the outside world, router, firewall 
(pf), dns server (bind), time server (ntpd), and socks proxy (nylon).

I wanted this to be a highly reliable machine, so I opted not to install 
a hard drive.  It boots from the compact flash card, mounted read-only so 
it won't wear out.  I didn't want to trust my email or web content to a 
memory disk, so I've got those services running on another box.  It's 
running "sendmail" just for nightly status reports, but that's probably 
not what you're interested in.

It wasn't easy to set this up, but it was very rewarding.  FreeBSD's 
"diskless" startup code was in a state of flux when I put this box 
together, but I expect it's a lot better now.  I've been happy with it. 
I'm tempted to try upgrading it to FreeBSD 7 on some rainy weekend, and I 
may even install a DHCP server on it this time.

I'm not sure what numbers you're interested in for determining if the box 
can handle the load.  "top" registers no load, a mostly idle CPU, and 
mostly free memory.  "pfctl -s info" registers between 800 and 1000 states 
and 255 searches per second when I'm saturating my connection with p2p 
traffic and using a bunch of complicated stateful firewall rules and 
priority queueing.

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