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Virtualised home server

Hello,

 

I want to run a couple of servers on a spare machine I have. I would like a firewall and a file server, possibly more. Would this be possible using virtual machines such as virtualbox, or would I need a more advanced virtualisation program or would it not be possible using VMs.

 

If it is possible, which packages would be best? Easy of use would be a priority as I am new to this side of things. I have been looking at pfsense, untangled, Sophos UTM, IPfire etc.

 

For the file server, I don't really need anything advanced. Maybe even plain old windows or Linus samba share? As long as it needs an account to access that a backup solution can be programmed to use on clients (to avoid ransomware spreading to it.

 

Many thanks for any help!

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17 minutes ago, Gdog said:

Hello,

 

I want to run a couple of servers on a spare machine I have. I would like a firewall and a file server, possibly more. Would this be using virtual machines such as virtualbox, or would I need a more advanced virtualisation program or would it not be possible using VMs.

Do you intend to use the firewall for your network at all, or just for testing purposes? Because making it your primary firewall will mean that PFSense machine will provide routing, firewalling and internet distribution from that point onward. You'll need to physically overhaul your network.

 

Software like VirtualBox and VMware player will use NAT by default, meaning the host machine will route traffic to the VMs, which are not routable themselves. To work around that, the machines need to be bridged to your network instead. Or you could build/use a dedicated machine with a hypervisor like ESXi (free, managed via web) or Hyper-V Server (also free, Windows Core based), you already have one to work with.

 

File server is not an issue. If most of your machines run Windows and you want the best performance, use a Windows VM. It'll always perform better than any Linux Samba implementation. If you want to support more platforms at once, look at FreeNAS. 

 

In terms of hardware, you really need to make your mind up about what you're requirements are going to be.

1. Does it need to be cheap or super efficient (pick one)?

2. What's your budget for this project if upgrades will be needed?

3. What specs does your current machine have?

 

 

PC Specs - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X MSI B550M Mortar 16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 @ CL15 - RX5700XT 660p 1TBGB & 256GB 600p Fractal Define Mini C CM V550 - Pop!_OS 20.04

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Personally, you need 2 computers. You should have one computer setup as your network firewall(Pfsense) and nothing else and have another computer as your file server/VM (FreeNAS).

 

Personally I never used virtual-box apart from my desktop for some basic testing/sandbox. Freenas now supports VMs and but won't as easy to setup compare to virtual box but is still easy imo. 

 

As for hardware, your pfsense this really depends on your internet speed and do you want to VPN/IDS/IPS/Web Proxy(Squid). Pretty much any computer from last 10 years will be faster than consumer off the shelf router and will have more features.

 

As for file server, this is really depends. You can check out plex sub-reddit, the build recommendation is really good for the price but will require you fiddle around with server gear. 

 

You need provide some spec of your spare systems and we might able to help which machine is best suited for which or one should be sold to buy more parts/drives.

Magical Pineapples


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Thanks for the tips guys.

 

My spare machine is:

  • i5 3750k (4core no ht/smt)
  • 8 GB RAM
  • R9 290X GPU
  • No storage devices connected yet.
  • 1 Gigabit Network port via PCI Extension (+1 Gigabit onboard LAN).

The machine doesn't need to be efficient really, if you mean in terms of the power bill. It seems a bit beefy to 'waste' on a firewall or file server so I was hoping to virtualise or have the server do as much as possible. If I keep the GPU in, it could even be used for gaming via steam in-house streaming (enabling me to game on old laptops). I guess I could also use an old laptop as a pfsense server. I think I have a Celeron with 2gb of ram, not sure of the network card speed or how easy it would to add a second.

 

Also, another question. Assume I set up Modem <-> pfsense <-> switch <-> clients. The modem would be a typical modem/router/Access point from my ISP in modem mode. I guess I would need another access point to go behind the pfsense router? Or would the access point still be functional on the isp device without the protection of pfsense?

 

 

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