CHR CPU Upgrade

Its been on my mind for a while that the CPU in my CHR wasn’t setting the world on fire, it was great for what it was doing and it was low powered but as I start and do more with my CHR, maybe start to look at a dude server and do some more advanced packet marking and processing I wanted something with more oomph!

I’ve now upgraded from a Xeon E3-1220L to an E3-1270. That’s a boost in base clock from 2.2Ghz to 3.4Ghz and a big step from 2c4t to 4c8t. I managed to do a small amount of testing before and after and whilst the difference from what has been done is negligible at this point, I’m expecting that as I burden the CPU more it will withstand the pressure for longer.

Before upgrade;

After CPU upgrade, same ESXi settings so this is “just” the core speed improvement;

This is the performance after shutting the machine down and applying the additional CPU cores;

 

Concluding my testing, a 400Mb increase in pushing traffic to itself from the CPU core speed upgrade, nothing to be sniffed at I guess, the traffic was also a bit more stable at this speed as opposed to the previous CPU.

Back to a CHR?

Friday 13th was an exciting one in my household! Not only did I kill the internet for everyone for a good 3 hour period whilst I swapped from an Ikea Lack table to a “real” 6U cabinet causing huge disruption when my planned single patch panel turned into 3! I also fired up old faithful and stuck on a fresh copy of the latest (6.42.6) CHR into my VM box.

Now I have my spare ESXi box housed in the attic in a real rack it means I don’t need it screaming away in the cave so I can finally move back to a CHR build and keep it. My rough maths says the CHR unit will have around 4-5 times the performance of the RB3011 which will now get moved to the cave as a dedicated VLAN breakout switch (or maybe sold) but ultimately I can employ some far more complex queues without worrying that I’m running the CPU up too far.

My long term plan is to SFQ my LAN traffic but then pick out particular traffic types from that and SFQ them against each other whilst doing some PFIFO pulling them all together. I’ll try to document as much as I can but in short it will be a huge amount of packet marking so CPU grunt is needed. I’m even now tempted to look at upgrading the CPU so it’s more than a dual core!

Fun times ahead.

CHR completed! But not how I hoped it would be

My long ongoing build of a 1U ESXi server to run CHR on has come to an end, a frustrating end that meant I simply couldn’t live with the noise it was kicking out because of the 40mm fans and constantly comparing it to my massively overpowered i7 mATX fileserver.

As a fairly large change to the home setup I decided to pull apart about 3 of my home servers and rebuild the main storage into the spare N54L and then rebuild the “Node” into an ESXi server to host the CHR. Quad port NIC in the Node and a quick install onto the Crucial M4 128GB and it was up and running, installed the CHR and it’s moving along really well and actually turning about double the traffic capability of what the “older” Xeon was doing!

So a really big shuffle around but now I feel like I’m actually starting to do my i7 some justice and not just using it for a ridiculously overpowered power hungry file server.

Whilst doing the work I had the dog in the cave with me (not that she was much help)

Transitional Week Ubuntu to Windows

This week has been a bit of a milestone week for me in computing. Traditionally I’ve always maintained a Windows for gaming and Linux/Ubuntu for my work.

I’ve been keeping a track of the whole Bash on Windows thing though, as much as I do/did love my Ubuntu machines I did find myself getting a bit aggravate, simple things like Winbox not fully working as well as it should, not being able to use my copy of Adobe PS CS. Jobs where I’d normally switch my Windows machine on and then RDP into it to complete the work.

So this week I’ve made a joint move and moved both my laptop and work desktop over to Windows 10 with the alluring factor being that I won’t lose all the benefits or command-line-fu I’ve learned from my now 5 years on the CLI with Ubuntu.

An honest and unbiased review here, I’m in a great place. Windows 10 is great to use, it feels faster around the desktop and doing simple things like web browsing with Firefox. I’ve got PS back and I’m really enjoying not having to use apps which are like a cheap knock off of the “real” thing.

I’m really happy using the Windows Store in fact as well, there are some great usability apps now such as Plex an Amazon music which just bring that better level of integration to the whole experience. Also L2TP/IPSEC works without any messing about! Amazing times!

So that’s where my week has been, I’ve been concentrating on that as well as trying to put some effort into the CHR build I’ve got going on. Hopefully over the weekend the CHR build will complete and I’ll bring that up and online and I’ve recently had to do some work bringing up a guest network so I have a great video planned on ensuring they get a filtered experience that can’t be worked around!

CHR build pushes forwards again

The RB3011 is starting to aggravate with it’s high CPU usage under VPN and the ports flapping, a major network change around is due I think and I’m hoping the CHR is going to be the start of it.

iDrac express and enterprise have been ordered to try and rein in some of the fan noise further.

Today I’ve managed to get the CPU re-pasted as the old stuff was just genuinely crusty and also manage to strip out a load of not needed bulk in the case.

Before:

After:

The CHR is fully installed an so far I’ve managed to push a very strong 7Gb through it internally testing so I’m relatively confident it will handle my 100/50 connection even when I do start using VPN.

What’s happening? 04/03/2018

I’ve pumped out a fair amount of tutorials recently and then had a bit of a hard stop. The work is carrying on in the background. I have loads of plans for more tutorials primarily based on MikroTik but there will be some Ubiquiti elements thrown in.

Project home router is at an odd point, I’ve re-ignited it but not done any further work to it. I’m currently waiting for a full iDrac setup to come through from China to see if I can quiet it off and I’m also waiting for the opportunity to re-paste the CPU to make sure I’m getting the best possible thermal setup out of it. I’m still undecided what to do with it, I have a quad port NIC but reality is I wish it was an SFP card and I can’t run both. Either way it can’t be any worse (apart from noise) than the RB3011 which is dropping ports and getting a lot of hard CPU usage under load.

I’ve also had to reinstall my trusty laptop, Ubuntu was aggravating me and some apps just weren’t what I wanted so have reinstalled to Windows 10 and have spent a few days getting it set up exactly how I want it. Some new editions to my Windows portfolio include Notepad++ which I’d never used until now but is absolutely awesome especially when combined with a user defined RouterOS language and the biggest surprise was the Bash on Windows functionality that W10 offers, simply it’s brilliant and now I genuinely have no drawbacks to moving back to Windows. I may drop a few posts about that in the future as simple stuff like SSH tunnelling is now so much easier from the Windows desktop.

As time has been short I’ve not managed to put a lot up to YouTube however have had a couple of gaming sessions which I’ve streamed to Twitch. I’ve been playing with some frames and scrolling text and I think I’m about there with those now. I’ve also ony just discovered StreamLabs which I have set up but am still waiting to sit down and learn intimately and get it set up to the standards I want.

Having a great time with my tech at the moment, I never seem to have enough time to do what I want and I’m eagerly waiting the launch of the new Ryzen+ or Ryzen2 kit in a couple weeks time as I’m definitely upgrading. 4Ghz seems to be the way to go!

 

Home Router Downgrade?

After having some what of a very quick and easy build process for the ESXi server I was hoping to put a new CHR installation on I’ve struggled massively with noise levels with the kit. Even though I knew to expect “some” noise, I just can’t get the Dell quiet enough to live in my rack permanently.

My cave is a very nice tranquil place and even though my Ryzen build hums at times, the ESX server just wasn’t cutting the mustard for me.

I have now down / side graded back to my RB3011 however I have made a slight change to the network. As I receive service through FWA the cat5 comes down and goes into an RB260GSP where it is converted to fibre and then that is fed from the house out to my cave. The RB3011 having an SFP port is ideal so now is connected directly without going through further multiple copper links and patches.

The LAN has not been left alone either, a copper uplink into a CRS112 has been used (due to it’s 4 SFP slots) and also extend the RB3011’s 10 copper ports. The CRS112 is now feeding a Unifi 8 port PoE switch in the attic, a CRS125 (for non PoE) in the attic and also the PoE switch in the cave as well as the “Tutorial” RB2011.

A busy and disappointing weekend (week really), but it has left me wanting a bit more. I’m thinking about possibly looking in to a CCR1009 with 2 SFP slots (WAN and LAN) but that’s a fairly large amount of money that I won’t be getting my hands on with the new Ryzen Zen+ lineup launching in 2 months time.

For the time being I’ve also managed to tidy the attic up, I had been using 1m patch cables and it was getting extremely messy up there so now have properly mounted the Unifi switch with the CRS and things have neatened up a treat.

Home Router Update

Quick update on the state of play with the router.

After the Dell server was phenomenally loud when running I had decided not to make the move over however some deep googling and checking through the Dell forums turned up that there were BIOS releases that addressed this problem. With the combination of the new BIOS and turning all the power settings onto custom and opting for power saver the server has quietened down now to what I would class as below acceptable levels.

Project CHR is back on track! I’m hoping that this weekend I can get the copper to fibre converter in so I can get the CHR spun up and routing as my main router.

Home Router Upgrade

It’s been a busy day or 2 for me getting parts together and getting ready for a fairly big shift around my home network environment. It’s all being done in the name of education as I want to run a CHR as my border router to give me some real horsepower for some scripting I’m looking at trying to do.

As part of the move around I will end up removing a MikroTik RB3011, HP N54L and a PoE injector and will be swapping over onto an RB260GSP (taking the place of the PoE and converting to fibre), a rack mounted server and a CHR which I’m currently about finished configuring.

Over the next few days I will be installing the 260GSP switch/converter and re configuring the CRS125 switch in the cave and then it should be about time to “cut over”  and get my CHR live.

This is all a test though and there is a possibility it’ll all move back if I can’t put up with the noise from the server in the cave.

6-config-moved

Exciting news for CHR in RouterOS 6.42RC

CHR has been the best way to deploy a virtual version of MikroTik’s RouterOS for a long time now. The dedicated virtual version includes some additional drivers and whatnot to make sure that it plays nicely with the popular virtualisation programs out there, Xen and VMWare being the 2 big ones everybody tends to go for.

Whilst some instances of CHR can now be found even on Amazon AWS there was still this niggle for those running Xen and VMWare that bugged them, traditionally on a “normal” VM you install it and then run the relevant “additional tools” installation so that the host cna pull out some information from the guest and also certainly in VMWare’s case, soft shut down or reboot the machine rather than a hard power off (we all know how RouterOS likes to log that as a fault!)

With 6.42RC things have changed though! Both xen-tools and open-vm-tools can now be found within the package and to ensure this wasn’t a joke I quickly span up a machine from the supplied OVA file and there it was feeding it’s name back to me as well as being able to soft reboot it. Good times!

A word of caution though, I personally would never recommend anyone use an RC for anything other than testing. New features introduce new bugs that need to be ironed out, whilst the wait for 6.41 to go to bugfix had started, now the wait is on for 6.42 to go to current!

you can download the latest version and see all the change logs openly on the Mikrotik website just here.