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Old 08-04-2018, 07:31 PM   #1
ratdude747
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Default Building a Router Server?

3 years ago I was gifted an old Dell R200 1U blade server. I used it as an apartment file server for 2 years, but it's since been, ahem, replaced.

I'm thinking of making it into a dedicated router for my network, which would be future proofing for an eventual connection >300mb (which is as much as my Netgear R7000 is good for on DD-WRT). Also, this would free up the eth1 connection on the R7000, which would allow me to team up with eth0 and double the AP's bandwidth to the main gigabit switch. I didn't think I had any HDDs for it (what was in it was moved to the new server as OS and Backup drives), but as it turns out, I found 3 160GB 7200RPM drives in a box in my garage.

What I do know if I go forward with this:
  • OS: Debian. Whatever the latest stable version is (or I'll stick with Jessie, which is what the other server runs).
  • The two HDDs will be a SW raid 1. Debian supposedly supports booting from a setup with all partions SW RAID'd (and with LVM too). No need for a HW controller since it's mostly going to be running from memory anyway.
  • CPU and RAM: IIt has a single Xeon 3085 (dual core 3GHz, 1333Mhz FSB); it has 2GB DDR2 on a single module installed. It was originally a Ubuntu based Firewall (I won't say from where, it's classified), so if it was good enough for that, it should be enough to run as a home router, right? Edit- I'm an idiot... I have 8GB of ECC registered DDR2 floating around... I can probably use that in this.


Questions I have about this:

1. If I do this, my separate main and firewalled guest wifi networks would still be managed (and separated from each other) through the AP (the Netgear R7000), right? All the server would be offloading is DHCP, WINS, and all internet traffic, right? Or would I need to setup the firewall between wifi networks on the router and VLAN it through to the AP?

2. Just using the two onboard GLAN ports should be sufficient? Or will I want to put a LAN card in it and team two ports back to the switch?


For now I'm just going to get debian running on it... but if you're familar with this, some answers would be nice here.
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Last edited by ratdude747; 08-04-2018 at 07:38 PM..
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

I like the replacement NAS....
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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I like the replacement NAS....
I do too...this wouldn't replace it.
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Old 08-04-2018, 10:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

Have you upgraded your switch to a managed one ?
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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Have you upgraded your switch to a managed one ?
Nope. Just a regular old 24 port 3com unit. My main server has 3 teamed gigabit connections and my main workstation has two teamed.

Last edited by ratdude747; 08-05-2018 at 07:46 AM..
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

It seems you're setting up Debian like some sort of pfsense/monwall/opensense/smoothwall box ? Each VLAN needs a port on the router, 1 in and 1 for each VLAN. If you're switch was managed your AP would plug into that but it will need to plug into another port on the router.
You switch between calling it a router and server, it's a little confusing.
I don't think the R7000 supports teaming/link aggregation.
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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It seems you're setting up Debian like some sort of pfsense/monwall/opensense/smoothwall box ?
I was thinking more along the lines of DNSmasq actually.


Quote:
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Each VLAN needs a port on the router, 1 in and 1 for each VLAN. If you're switch was managed your AP would plug into that but it will need to plug into another port on the router.
So, no the AP cannot take care of managing the two "isolated" wifi networks without being the router as well? I'm asking here. I know of one setup where a WRT1900 with DD-WRT is being used for 7 separate networks and has a single LAN connection... but that setup had the AP going directly to a professional (rackmounted) Cisco router, which was probably setting the VLAN's on the trunk line.


Quote:
Originally Posted by diif View Post
You switch between calling it a router and server, it's a little confusing.
It's a blade server being used as a router...

Quote:
Originally Posted by diif View Post
I don't think the R7000 supports teaming/link aggregation.
From what I can tell from playing with it, the WAN port is a separate gigabit connection... and DD-WRT supports bonding. Why wouldn't it work?
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Old 08-05-2018, 10:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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Why wouldn't it work?
Your switch isn't managed. It's the same reason you can't plug in the AP as you'd like.
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Old 08-06-2018, 06:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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Your switch isn't managed. It's the same reason you can't plug in the AP as you'd like.
Then why can I plug in my server and workstation and run round-robin bonded connections? The former also runs linux (like the AP), so shouldn't I be able to do such? It's not like I'm connecting two switches here.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

I'm sure I've previously explained this.
Have you got some benchmarks comparing a single GbE vs your dual GbE round robin setup ?
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

^Not really. The reported speed is 3Gbs though (2gbs for the server). I'll do some ping tests tonight.
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

Theoretically there should be an increase if there is data going from one machine to two different machines but between just two I wouldn't expect to see any. As I understand round robin, once a transfer is initiated it's identified by MAC address and uses the same physical nic.
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

Link aggregation is not really all that great. Good for failover and load balancing but for bundled speed, it sucks, since you can't split packet streams because of how protocols are written, so you're limited to bandwitdh of the nic.

I attempted to do this with one machine and one server and a managed switch and dual nics with lacp setup, but I didn't see any gains since one link would be saturated and would not utlize next link unless a new stream was started. As in two machines pulling data from the server at the same time, or one writing and one reading. On the other hand I could start two diffferent data transfers over lacp links, problem was, it was tricky to get it to use both lacp links since it would try to place the new tcp/udp stream on the same nic that already had utlization, some tuning in linux, got it some what relieable but in the end, it was too much work for little gain, and I kept asking myself when am I ever going to need several transfers done at once.

Frankly you're better of going fibre channel or 10Gbase-t for real speed improvement.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

^I don't really "need" a speed upgrade... it was more along the lines of "I have this hardware sitting, can I do better with it?" idea than a "I need more speed, what do I need to get there" idea.

Not sure what to do with this other server then... hmm...
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:48 PM   #15
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdude747 View Post
^I don't really "need" a speed upgrade... it was more along the lines of "I have this hardware sitting, can I do better with it?" idea than a "I need more speed, what do I need to get there" idea.

Not sure what to do with this other server then... hmm...
1U boxes tend to suffer from "NFS" (Noisey/Nasty Fan Syndrome).

It, no doubt, has very few drive bays. You could use it as a "NAS appliance" and swap the drives out to bring other drives on-line in their place.

If you want to hookup a second "server", consider something 24/7/365 that provides "core services" to your network: DNS, TFTP, NTP, LPD, syslogd, etc.. And, as most of these are low bandwidth services, you can opt for a smaller/quieter/cooler box to provide them.

I use a thin client with a 640GB disk -- contradiction in terms? -- so I have a little playpen that I can work in, push stuff at (backups), etc. It's not very performant (an old Atom) but it uses very little power and I can count on it being available ALWAYS!

Because of this, my UPSs can periodically transfer their log files to an account established for them on that box -- regardless of whether or not any of my other machines are powered up. Likewise, any boot errors get logged there so I don't have to wander around looking for diagnostic information. I've also set it up with various X clients so it can breathe life into my X terminals without having to bring any other box online. I can spool a LONG job to a printer and then shut off the originating client -- knowing that server will handle the printing on its behalf.

Etc.
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

^Noise wise, it's not great, but it's not much worse than the 3U main server I am using. It has 2 non-hot-swap 3.5" drives. By no means a replacement (the 3U, despite being older, easily replaced the 1U).
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: Building a Router Server?

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^Noise wise, it's not great, but it's not much worse than the 3U main server I am using. It has 2 non-hot-swap 3.5" drives. By no means a replacement (the 3U, despite being older, easily replaced the 1U).
I use a little PE840 as a "4 slot drive host". It's got a disk cage that will handle 4 SATA drives (I never hot-swap -- color me paranoid!). I have a replacement cage that handles SCA drives so it only takes me a few minutes to reconfigure it for that medium.

I removed one of the optical drives and installed a front-load SATA drive dock wired as the boot disk. So, I can change the machine's personality by popping out the (bare) drive and installing a different one (e.g., different OS).

As it's a tower case, it can afford decent fans which helps cut down on the noise (it's in my bedroom and I often sleep with it running). But, I only use it when I am moving files onto or off-of "bare" archive disks and want a fair bit of bandwidth (I can push 100MB/s+ to all four drives concurrently).

I've binned all of my other servers as I got tired of listening to fans... (the workstations have large, oversized fans that run at lower RPMs)
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