Project 42

Server migration to some Colo in the Bay Area using FreeBSD 6.4 or 7.1

Conventions and terminology:

  • All dates on these pages are formatted as [YYYY/]MM/DD or [YYYY-]MM-DD
  • All times should be noted as utc or pst (utc-8) or pdt (utc-7), since the colo is in the US Pacific time zone.
  • The terms site or SJC, when used on these pages, refers to the Bay Area colo (to be determined) (or our network at the site, depending on context).

Current Tasks

  • 2007/12/07 - Sent a web quotation request off to - let's see what they have to say
  • Research Colo to use, see Project42Colo.
  • Research network and server hardware ''(see below for links)''

Future Tasks

  • Obtain IP addressing and CIDR netmask from colo operator and verify that ARIN properly allocates those blocks to them, to be safe.
  • Obtain power provision from colo operator
  • Decide on network and server hardware, and place orders, shipping to Carl.
  • FreeBSD 6.4 has security end of life 2010/11/30 so 7.1 may be a better choice.
    • Obtain OS via download or ordering installation DVD
  • Discuss and Decide disk layout and software needed
  • Install FreeBSD on servers and configure everything (see Configuration below for details)
  • Install gigabit ethernet hub/router (firewall?) and [=SonicWall=] SSL-VPN 2000 box at site
    • ''Subtask:'' Purchase [=SonicWall=] SSL-VPN 2000 and develop initial configs
  • Install mail servers
  • Install web servers, separate from mail servers
  • Test remote reboot capability and site access procedures
  • Document site access procedures after having tested them
  • Update DNS records to point to new servers

Pending questions for Kurt to answer

Do you have preferences re AMD vs. Opteron or 32-bit vs. 64-bit for the servers?

Pending questions for Carl to answer

Carl should find a better color than link blue for his notes. Kurt's using green, red should be left for critical stuff.

Configuration Notes

1/4 rack (10U) with /28 subnet (16 addresses), billed annually. 2U and 3 addresses for Carl.

Rack physical configuration

Network configuration

Gigabit ethernet with a public-facing network and a private internal net.
Everything should be IPv6 capable but doesn't need IPv6 turned on for initial rollout; that can happen later after initial setup.

Private internal net should use RFC 1918 private network address space .

Server configuration

Carl is reading through archives and summarizing notes from a 2007/11/26 here:

  • "Chipset: This may be a good website for you to checkout - . Most chipsets that are not bleeding edge (brand new) are linux compatible." (Carl will try to dig up a FreeBSD compatibility list instead.)
    • AMD or Opteron? 32-bit or 64?
  • "CPU benchmarks at "
  • RAM: "For a server you are looking for "ECC Fully Buffered" or "ECC Registered" ram. This basically means that the ram will protect against corrupted data from cosmic rays that are bombarding it. Sounds funny but it is true. More info on RAM at and "
  • For Linux, "If you are going over 4GB of ram you need to run a 64bit os or compile a kernel with extended memory support." Is this also the case for FreeBSD? For our purposes we may not need that much RAM anyway.
  • "I don't think I'd ever seriously consider using a 5400RPM drive in a server. 7200RPM is the standard for SATA drives. For best performance, you really want a 10K RPM or 15K RPM SCSI drive, but 7200RPM SATA2 drives are suitable for light workloads."
  • "You can read up on RAID here: " 3Ware raid card recommended. "You can try cheaper brands but take it from someone who has tried them and seen data loss out of them. Get the good raid card. NEVER EVER use the raid that is on board on a motherboard. EVER. NEVER EVER depend on raid as a form of data backup."
  • One poster recommends "a used HP DL G3/4/5 server from eBay."
  • "The following components are critical:
    • Case - it needs to be well designed and cool, with dust filters
    • Fans - don't use cheap ones, ball-bearing and brand-name is a must. If you have a fan controller, run them at slightly less than 100%.
    • RAID - use a real RAID accelerator, brand-name."
  • Another poster recommends "barebone servers from either supermicro or tyan: or . Add CPU/RAM/HDD/RAID card of your choice. these barebones are engineered to be rack-optimized and well cooled.
    • just about all barebone servers from SM/Tyan always have excellent linux compatibility in terms of chipset, on-board HDD controller, and on-board NICs.
    • for hardware RAID applications, the era of SAS (serial attached SCSI) has truly arrived. SAS drives have just been thru a tremendous price cut! some models costs just 50% than one month ago. a 15K 73G SAS drive now costs just ~$40 more than 73G raptor 10k. a 4/8-port SAS hardware RAID card, such as Adaptec 3405/3805 costs the same with 4/8-port 3ware 9550. thus, for those of you considering high-performance RAID10/RAID50 array for database server or VPS node, have really no reason not to consider SAS array nowadays!"
  • "All the "popular" Intel 5000/3000 series chipsets based server boards have on-board SATA/NICs supported by most popular linux/BSD distro's as long as they are somewhat current production releases. all these barebones come with super-sized passive all-copper heatsink , cooled by name-brand high-speed, high-volume blowers or turbine fans in a wind tunnel or air shroud."
  • "RealTek [ethernet] chipsets are crap. Do a search on the forums for "realtek" and you'll find plenty of info on why. There's a reason they're very inexpensive."

Other links:

Kurt's Configuration

Carl's Configuration

Still researching, but my thinking as of 2007/12. Needs to be updated.
Supermicro case preferred, Intel processor (type undetermined yet),
2 GB ECC Memory, 2 80 GB hotswappable disks (SATA-2 or SAS), no RAID,
a DVD burner would be convenient.

Temporary Dedicated Server

2007/12/29 As a stopgap measure while researching colos Carl has set up a dedicated FreeBSD 6.2 server from M5 Hosting:
Pentium E2140 Dedicated Server with 2 GB RAM for $125/mo:

* Intel Pentium E2140 Dual Core 1M cache (Allendale)
* 151% the speed of a P4 3.0GHz server
* 2048 MB Kingston Memory
* 160GB SATA Disk
* 250GB/mo Bandwidth
* Custom OS Configuration
* Free Setup


2007/11/30 F Project Start, quote requested from Layer42.
2007/12/07 F Layer42 unsuitable, info archived to ColoLayer42 page.
2008 February - Kurt will be back in bay area
2008 - Project currently on hold, but page left up in case its useful for future planning

Contact Log


Vendor links

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