Hardware suggestions

Nathan Vidican nathan at vidican.com
Wed Apr 27 14:21:22 UTC 2011

On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 12:04 PM, Jaime Kikpole
<jkikpole at cairodurham.org> wrote:
> I'm looking for new hardware for my web filter (FreeBSD + dansguardian + squid).
> Can anyone suggest good (or warn about bad) models of hardware for
> this?  I'm looking for a small tower or compact chassis (not rack
> mount) with two ethernet interfaces.  I'd like RAID-1 as well, if
> possible.  I can spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.
> My current system works well (2.0GHz, dual core, 8GB RAM, RAID-1, two
> 160GB disks, 3 100Mbps NICs), but I want to replace it with two
> identical boxes.  Right now, its a single point of failure.  So I'm
> hoping to rsync configs between two systems that are on line at all
> times.  Then, if I need up upgrade software or the hardware breaks, I
> can just swap the box.
> Any pointers on this project are appreciated, especially what models
> of computers would work well with FreeBSD.
> Thanks in advance,
> Jaime
> --
> Network Administrator
> Cairo-Durham Central School District
> http://cns.cairodurham.org
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For what it's worth, I would do two things:

#1 - consult the FreeBSD hardware compatability list, (see
http://www.freebsd.org/releases/8.2R/hardware.html for 8.2-RELEASE),
and piece together your own white-box hardware, (ie: pick compatible
system board, processor, memory, disks and controllers) usually the
best bang for the buck in my experience.

#2 - instead of hot-spare (having both machines there but only one
plugged in) - you might want to read up on using CARP; CARP will allow
automatic failover and can trigger scripts to perform actions when the
failover event occurs - this may be a far better option than having to
physically plug a machine in place of another. See the handbook for
more detail on CARP:

Nathan Vidican
nathan at vidican.com

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