Windows Home Lab?

I’ve got an IT based project on again! It’s been an absolute age since I’ve been “interested” in my IT and computers and servers and all things good like this but I’ve got a project on my hands, add in as well I currently have a renewed interest in learning and relearning some network essentials and generally needing to sharpen back up on these things (more to come on that in the future).

I had a spare HP Gen8 Microserver with one of the 1260 Xeon’s (4c8t) and 16GB RAM so a decent little box by most accounts. A quick amazon order for 2 Oracle SSD>HDD mounting brackets and I’ve got 2 Crucial 240GB SSD’s in the first two 6Gb SATA drive bays.

A quick hop over onto Gamers Outlet and I’d bagged a Server 2022 license and probably 10 minutes of installing later I have a decent little server running. This is being used now in 2 parts, firstly for my project to look at guest accounts, remote desktop access and how to lock down users. The second part of it is to spin up a HyperV environment and get some MikroTik CHR’s talking to each other! A return to MikroTik world albeit brief as I don’t envisage my work going that way again any time soon, it was good to use Tik to understand the concepts and replicate in my own way.

More to come as the IT project unfolds and yeah maybe more networky stuff…

10Gb Firewall > Core Switch

My Intel X520 card have arrived and have been far better than expected. They’re both like new, one even has the LP bracket with it and all 4 Intel SFP’s are like brand new.
I moved both my LAN and WAN interfaces to the R210’s onboard coppers and installed the new card, connected up with a temporary fibre patch cable and it came straight up. LAN moved back onto the 10Gb along with the VLAN’s and we are now live with 10Gb Firewall>Switch>CaveSwitch – Complete 10Gb backbone.

Will it make a difference day to day? Nope. But it’s been an itech I’ve been dying to scratch and now I have a spare X520 to install into the backup server and get rid of the 4 ether LACP.

10Gb Upgrade has started!

I’ve ran a 10Gb link from Attic to ManCave for quite a while now and it’s always been in the back of my mind to stretch it out a little bit more. The unRAID server now using a 2.5Gb into the Cave switch eased things a bit however I have just managed to win an auction for two Intel 10Gb PCIe SFP+ cards with SFP+’s so the plan is to put one in the Dell firewall so we have 10Gb Firewall to Attic Switch and then I’ll still have a spare whih may go in the unRAID box or it may go in the Backup Box.

pfSense+ vs opnSense – Is it a competition?

I was recently caught out by the whole pfSense+ is going to be chargeable going forwards scandal that I’m sure many other pfSense users have been, I’ve kerbed my outrage, it’s not life ending, I moved from CE to Plus only a month before this happened and to be honest, apart from the inconvenience of reinstalling to move back – I can live with it howevere there is a similar alternative, a fork of the pfSense build. OPNsense.
Link to said announcement.

What a nightmare that’s been!!
I had it in my mind to swap the SSD my Dell R210 was running on anyway so whipped out the old Crucial and popped in a new one, installed OPN sense and that’s where the problems all started! Huge memory spikes (filling the 8GB hardware and 8GB swap), the firewall then proceeded to drop some services due to the memory being so high, CPU spiking to 60% plus randomly for periods. VLANs not working and I use a LAGG setup for my downlinks to LAN (I can so I do) also not coming up when needed meaning I had a situation where I managed to lock myself out due to the LAGG not coming up, a reset to factory and then start config again. Just a general nightmare.

Sat contemplating my poor life decisions, I remebered I swapped out the SSD in full, what had taken me the best part of 2 and a half hours, was reverted in a shutdown, SSD swap and power up (30 seconds max) to resume normality. Yes I have a CE reinstall to do and it does bug me I never get 1Gb any more only 850Mb (first world problem) but I am going to concentrate now on moving the interfaces to the built in ethernet and swap out the PCiE card for something 10Gb flavour.

I have read so much up on moving pf to opn and I was super excited to do so but pf for me is currently still where it’s at.