Can the HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 G1610T run both FreeNAS and Pfsense?

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by vegeta, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. vegeta

    vegeta Member

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    I'm looking for a Pfsense router and FreeNAS back-up server to get more experienced with FreeNAS and ZFS. Is the HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 G1610T a decent server to run both at the same time?
    • FreeNAS
    • Pfsense

    It's not going to become my primary NAS, but will become my primary router. I'm looking for a budget solution, but FreeNAS is so difficult with hardware requirements (no AMD, watch out with virtualization) and currently the most important would be Pfsense, but it'd be great to be able to do both.

    I haven't decided on how to run Pfsense yet either, perhaps install FreeNAS on the hardware and virtualize Pfsense, or learn about jails, or possibly ESXi, which I've used a lot, but seems to be always used with a pass-through HBA. I'm looking for a solution that's decently supported. I want FreeNAS and Pfsense to be up 99,5%+ of the time without having to look and worry about them.

    I like that this HP server has an Intel CPU (supported), 2 ethernet ports (Pfsense WAN+LAN), ECC RAM and 4 disk bays (enough). I'm open to look at alternatives, but low power-usage is important to me and this box doesn't need to run any other VM's or do any Plex transcoding. I have another VMware server for that.
     
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  2. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    FreeNAS may not officially support AMD processors, but in my experience, it works fine. At least on bare metal. My old FreeNAS box was an FX-4150.

    A G1610T (Ivy Bridge Celeron) is a pretty low-end CPU... 2.3 GHz, no turbo, dual-core, no Hyper Threading... It also doesn't support VT-d, so no HBA passthrough. You'd need to have FreeNAS running on the metal, with pfSense running in a VM (it can't be run in a jail). Again, without VT-d, you won't be able to pass the NICs through to pfSense, which isn't ideal. Less of a show stopper than the HBA, though. I haven't used FreeNAS since they added bhyve support.

    Of the Ivy Bridge, Haswell and Broadwell CPUs, only Xeons and Pentium Ds support VT-d and ECC RAM. Skylake i3s and Pentiums added support, but ECC support was removed from then again for Kaby Lake, while Celerons do now support VT-d and ECC. Denverton Atoms also support VT-d and ECC, but none of the older ones, nor the Atom-derived Pentiums and Celerons do.

    How budget is budget? In a MicroServer Gen8, I'd probably go for the E3-1220L v2 (2.3-3.3 GHz, dual-core, Hyper Threading, 17W TDP) version. In another system (or possibly even a MicroServer, depending on how fussy they are about swapping CPUs), I'd look at the E3-1265L v2 (2.5-3.5 GHz, quad-core, Hyper Threading, 45W TDP), too.
     
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  3. vegeta

    vegeta Member

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    My budget is very flexible. I mostly care about getting a good return on investment.

    A server with a E3-1220L v2 would be great too, but I don't find any at good prices. They are sold for HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 (F9A40A) - Prijzen - Tweakers. I might as well get this one new (HP Proliant Enterprise ML10 Gen9 3GHz E3-1225V5 300W Tower (4U) - Prijzen - Tweakers) and replace the CPU in that case.

    https://azerty.nl/product/hp enterprise/3103787/hpe-proliant-microserver-gen10-entry-server-ultra-microtowermodel
    This server is very cheap too and powerful, but it's an AMD that other FreeNAS users have had problems with, which I'd like to avoid!
     
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  4. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    I'd written a long reply, but closed my browser without posting it. D'oh!

    The gist of it was, you could get one of the MicroServer Gen8s with the Celeron and 4GB of RAM, and upgrade the CPU to an E3-1220L v2 and the RAM to 8GB with parts from eBay. IIRC, it was about EUR350 total if you get the parts from China/Hong Kong, EUR450 from American sellers. I couldn't find any European sellers in my quick search. That's quite a bit less than getting one with the Xeon and 8GB already in it, and around the price of the ML10.

    The ML10 has a more powerful CPU (it's a full quad-core rather than a dual-core with HT, has a slightly higher max. turbo frequency, plus the generational improvements from Ivy Bridge to Skylake), with a much higher TDP. Actual power consumption may not be that different, though, depending on how much of the time it's idle. It also supports up to 64GB of RAM, and has 2 more drive bays.

    The Opteron X32xx-series in the MicroServer Gen10 supports PCI passthrough, but it looks like only on KVM and possibly Hyper-V. ESXi and XenServer don't (officially, at least) support the CPU at all, and bhyve only supports PCI passthrough on Intel CPUs.
     
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  5. vegeta

    vegeta Member

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    Hi Michael.

    Thanks a lot for your message, but it does seem that the HBA isn't a proper one for passthrough in VMware so that the FreeNAS VM sees the disks, reads the smart, data etc.?

    If that works fine, then a cheap Xeon E3-xxxx v1/v2 indeed seems a great solution.
     
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  6. Michael Hall

    Michael Hall Member

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    Hmm... yes, looks like no JBOD option on the B120i RAID controller. I can't find any manuals at all for the ML10 Gen9, but it looks like by default it only has the standard Intel integrated SATA controller. You'd need an additional HBA to pass through to the FreeNAS VM unless you boot from USB. Of course, if you ran FreeNAS on the metal and pfSense in a bhyve VM, that wouldn't be an issue.

    I've got an idea... I'll PM you later tonight.
     
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  7. AVD2359

    AVD2359 New Member

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    FreeNAS doesn't support AMD? Both the 9.10 & 11 docs point to the FreeBSD compatibility list here. Looks supported to me.

    Boy, you've got to love Intel. What a mess.
     
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  8. AVD2359

    AVD2359 New Member

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    Vegeta, I was in a similar situation a few years ago, wanting a high-value ESXi box with all the features on a budget.

    I ended up buying a used HP Z210 on Ebay. It has a Sandy Bridge E3 & Intel NIC, and I've added a few things. 32GB of ECC UDIMMs was the expensive upgrade (other than disks, obviously), but an LSI HBA and Intel 2-port NIC added $120ish total. I'd do a 10GB NIC if building now, obviously, but $600ish buys a lot of server this way. And it comes in a standard - fairly quiet! - mid-tower.

    While something like this won't run a bunch of intensive VMs simultaneously, it has strong single-thread performance, ECC, VT-d, etc. And, unlike newer Xeons, I have 20 PCIe lanes straight to the CPU, which is great for HBA & NIC. The biggest downside is proprietary wiring between PSU & mobo, though adapters are available.
     
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  9. TLN

    TLN Active Member

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    I was running HP Microserver for more than a year. Get a Xeon E3 CPU and you can run anything: pass through works great in ESXI.
     
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  10. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    I have mine running an E3-1265 Lv2. Currently using it to play with docker and proxmox using @Patrick's Proxmox + docker guide.
     
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    TLN and Patrick like this.
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