Riverbed CX-770 $30BO

foureight84

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You need a Cisco console cable to connect to the console port over Putty. In Putty, select the Serial option, and specify the serial com port and speed. My serial settings were (COM7 9600) but may be different on your machine. You can get the com port from device manager in Windows. 9600 is the default baud rate on the BIOS. I recommend changing it to 115200 in the BIOS since most OS use 115200 by default, so you'll have to reconnect once the OS boots if the BIOS is at 9600.

Once both are set to 115200, you can boot from USB pfsense like any other PC. Make sure you download the serial version of pfsense (a download option on the site).

This is the console cable I'm using. It has a built-in USB to serial adapter in the cable:
Awesome! Thank you!
 
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mrseth1

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FYI, all the NICs work out of the box on ESXI 6.7 if you want a hassle free experience. I know it's EOL soon, but it will still work fine for a lab environment. Or you can prob cp the igb driver from 6.7 to 7. I'll just be using 6.7.
 

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Madhelp

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FYI, all the NICs work out of the box on ESXI 6.7 if you want a hassle free experience. I know it's EOL soon, but it will still work fine for a lab environment. Or you can prob cp the igb driver from 6.7 to 7. I'll just be using 6.7.
Thanks for this insight, I'll definitely go this route (esxi 6.7 vs 7).

On another note, I wish I bought a second one. Hopefully more of these boxes come on the market soon.
 
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bbqdt

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Thanks for this insight, I'll definitely go this route (esxi 6.7 vs 7).

On another note, I wish I bought a second one. Hopefully more of these boxes come on the market soon.
There are several on eBay for ~$100. I got mine with brackets, hdds, and power brick for $85 obo on a $125 listing.
 
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foureight84

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Strange. I've attached a 128GB SSD and the bios detects it as 1GB. PFSense sees it as 8GB. This is the SSD in Sata0 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2J7Y1MB

On a separate note, probably not a good idea to swap for Noctua fans. The CPU does get toasty even after a fresh application of solder paste. CPU at 61C (this is in bios though).

1659003746326.png
 
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mrseth1

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Strange. I've attached a 128GB SSD and the bios detects it as 1GB. PFSense sees it as 8GB. This is the SSD in Sata0 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2J7Y1MB

On a separate note, probably not a good idea to swap for Noctua fans. The CPU does get toasty even after a fresh application of solder paste. CPU at 61C (this is in bios though).

View attachment 23735
Bummer about the ssd. I wonder if it's something with new ssd format. It sees it, but at a different size, hmmm. I have a couple of different ssds I will test out of curiosity, but they are all older type.

Also, I don't remember my CPU getting to 61C. That is kind of toasty for idle. Did you have the cover off? I think it's one of those servers that need the cover on for proper air flow. I'll get the CPU temps off mine, curious on that too.
 
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foureight84

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Bummer about the ssd. I wonder if it's something with new ssd format. It sees it, but at a different size, hmmm. I have a couple of different ssds I will test out of curiosity, but they are all older type.

Also, I don't remember my CPU getting to 61C. That is kind of toasty for idle. Did you have the cover off? I think it's one of those servers that need the cover on for proper air flow. I'll get the CPU temps off mine, curious on that too.
I've swapped over to a 32GB MLC and it's working as expected. I think it could be something with the controller in the newer drives. Plus these ultra-cheap 3D NAND drives only have 100TB endurance. Not planning on writing to the SSD but probably best to just use a low-capacity SLC or MLC as boot disk.

I did have the cover off, you're right. I forget that these require good airflow. I'll do more temp monitoring after I get PFSense installed and configured.

EDIT: On a random note, I think the 1GB that's detected as the SSD size is the SLC cache on the Timetec SSD I was using.
 
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abidu

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Jul 31, 2022
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Hi Folks,

Just picked up a CX770 off ebay for 50$ to either use it as a pfsense router or put esxi on it.
For some reason I'm having issues booting PFS via USB and stops before the install page even shows up. (see attached)

ESXi 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 all complain about UEFI secure boot not enabled, how did you guys go around this issues?
 

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mrseth1

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Hi Folks,

Just picked up a CX770 off ebay for 50$ to either use it as a pfsense router or put esxi on it.
For some reason I'm having issues booting PFS via USB and stops before the install page even shows up. (see attached)

ESXi 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 all complain about UEFI secure boot not enabled, how did you guys go around this issues?
Did you download the serial console version of pfsense? You need to download and boot from the serial console version of pfsense.
Same with ESXi. I had to modify the USB boot files on the USB drive to boot from serial on ESXi. The UEFI secure boot errors are false (I got them too); just the last console notice before going into graphics mode, and since you don't have a video card, its the last thing you see. I got 6.7 and 7 booting. ESXi 6.7 worked the best (had the drivers for the two nic types). ESXi 7 was missing one of the nic drivers, but the i210 worked. Not an issue if you plan to PCI passthrough those nics to pfsense anyway.
 

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abidu

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Greetings, Yes I am using the serial console image from pfsense and what seems strange the system is not frozen or does not have kernel panic, it just does not display anything past the message in the debug file, not sure what else to try to get the pfsense install boot to work.
With the CX770 there is an option to have the 4 nics to operate outside of bypass mode (like a regular nic) via a bios option which makes it very convenient.

For ESXi, what boot options did you modify to enable serial only (no vga) ?

thank you,
AB

Did you download the serial console version of pfsense? You need to download and boot from the serial console version of pfsense.
Same with ESXi. I had to modify the USB boot files on the USB drive to boot from serial on ESXi. The UEFI secure boot errors are false (I got them too); just the last console notice before going into graphics mode, and since you don't have a video card, its the last thing you see. I got 6.7 and 7 booting. ESXi 6.7 worked the best (had the drivers for the two nic types). ESXi 7 was missing one of the nic drivers, but the i210 worked. Not an issue if you plan to PCI passthrough those nics to pfsense anyway.
 
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mrseth1

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Greetings, Yes I am using the serial console image from pfsense and what seems strange the system is not frozen or does not have kernel panic, it just does not display anything past the message in the debug file, not sure what else to try to get the pfsense install boot to work.
With the CX770 there is an option to have the 4 nics to operate outside of bypass mode (like a regular nic) via a bios option which makes it very convenient.

For ESXi, what boot options did you modify to enable serial only (no vga) ?

thank you,
AB
For ESXi USB boot serial console I loosely followed this guide: Installing ESXi over serial console (headless, no video card) | vmware admins

In a nutshell, after you create the bootable esxi usb thumb drive, you need to
  1. Edit the /boot.cfg
    1. From: kernelopt=cdromBoot runweasel
    2. To: kernelopt=cdromBoot runweasel text nofb com1_baud=115200 com1_Port=0x3f8 tty2Port=com1 gdbPort=none logPort=none
  2. Do the same exact thing to /efi/boot/boot.cfg
  3. Profit
After you install ESXi and reboot, it boots in graphics mode by default. To fix that you need to redirect direct console to the serial port following this: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-v...UID-FB5146D3-A732-4523-8716-1B734E0250EE.html

In a nutshell from the vsphere web client:
  1. Change VMkernel.Boot.tty2Port under Advanced System Settings to com1
  2. Reboot
Worked for me on the latest 6.7 and 7 esxi isos.

Attached my boot.cfg for reference.
 

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mrseth1

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Looks like my secureCRT app was to blame for pfsense not showing up the screen. Putty works just fine.
Nice! I haven't used SecureCRT in like 10 years. Didn't know it was still being maintained. Blast from the past. I've just been using Putty, or shell.
 
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foureight84

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I'm having a bit of an issue identifying the ports after installing PFSense (bare metal). WAN0 on the device doesn't correspond to PFSense's WAN assigned to igb0. I've tried other ports but they are not getting DHCP from my modem. I've also tried reassigning ports as well but still no luck. Moreover, I also can't access configuration via webConfigurator on LAN (igb0).

One thing I've noticed is that the 4 DH8900CC ports indicator lights are always on and are orange. In bios, I am able to get the i210 NICs to blick led lights but not the DH8900CC.
 
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mrseth1

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I'm having a bit of an issue identifying the ports after installing PFSense (bare metal). WAN0 on the device doesn't correspond to PFSense's WAN assigned to igb0. I've tried other ports but they are not getting DHCP from my modem. I've also tried reassigning ports as well but still no luck. Moreover, I also can't access configuration via webConfigurator on LAN (igb0).

One thing I've noticed is that the 4 DH8900CC ports indicator lights are always on and are orange. In bios, I am able to get the i210 NICs to blick led lights but not the DH8900CC.
You need to set the nics to "No ByPass" in the BIOS to make them act like normal nics.

Advanced | LAN ByPass Configuration

On my box nics are assigned from left to right (looking at the front of the unit). So first nic (PRI) is WAN, second NIC (AUX) is LAN, and so on. Half the issue is probably the "No Bypass" setting in the BIOS.
 

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foureight84

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You need to set the nics to "No ByPass" in the BIOS to make them act like normal nics.

Advanced | LAN ByPass Configuration

On my box nics are assigned from left to right (looking at the front of the unit). So first nic (PRI) is WAN, second NIC (AUX) is LAN, and so on. Half the issue is probably the "No Bypass" setting in the BIOS.
Thank you! That did the trick for me. Looks like my PFSense install assigned WAN-0 (physical) as LAN and LAN-0 as WAN. Just need to reconfigure that. I was looking at the option and I thought "Disabled" was the correct option and would probably taken a while to figure out to try no-bypass had you not provided the solution.
 
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Samir

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The Riverbed CX-770 doesn't seem to be picky on RAM. I was able to install some old non-ecc ddr3 1600 desktop ram into it. Booted and is using it fine.
This is quite interesting because the bios still allows ecc support to be enabled. Maybe it allows the setting but nothing happens. It's common to be able to use non-ecc udimms in systems with ecc udimms and vice versa, and glad this is supported on this guy. :)
 

foureight84

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This is quite interesting because the bios still allows ecc support to be enabled. Maybe it allows the setting but nothing happens. It's common to be able to use non-ecc udimms in systems with ecc udimms and vice versa, and glad this is supported on this guy. :)
I remember that older Xeons weren't picky. I recalled Broadwell Xeon chipsets were not particularly strict with this either.
 
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