A breathe of life for the CHR

There has been a glimmer of hope for the CHR. I’ve come across a donor R210 with a power supply that is in brilliant condition, installed the power supply and it burst back into life. A good hour getting ESXi re-installed to the SSD I’d wiped and then reloading a CHR image onto it then carefully copying over the config and it’s just about ready to bring back into service.

I’ll be sorry to part ways again with the Hex and the FastTrack setup but this time around with the CHR I’ll be going for a really big QoS tree build.

CHR – Now faster and more efficient!

I’ve finally had some time to pull drag a monitor up into the attic to make some changes to the ESXi server that hosts my CHR. After some extensive reading on the MikroTik forum, it looks to read that a virtual CHR benefits from a “real” core and not a virtual one, in some cases virtual cores hindering performance! Even though my residential 55/15 connection isn’t going to set the world alight, I want to do some really in depth packet inspection next year so having raw performance is top of my list.

The changes I’ve made were to move the server BIOS performance setting from “OS Control” which was initially set to try and minimise noise in the cave to maximum performance, a few packets made there maybe?

The second big change was to turn off the hyperthreading on my Xeon. When I bought the Xeon I went out of my way to buy one with 4c/8t for maximum cores but RouterOS itself is very single core based and can’t multi-thread so single core efficiency is key. It also benefits from L3 cache so splitting the cache between 4 rather than 8 helps more so. There is also some heat efficiency to be made by running the processor without HT which counter balances the BIOS performance setting which could increase heat.

Overall testing without firewall now yields a far healthier 10+Gbps speedtesting to itself on a single core compared to the previous 7(ish).

All will be undone though if/when rOS7 launches with multicore!

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)

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.



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.