best starting kit for a dual-lan linux gateway machine
May 3, 2013 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I use a second computer set up with Ubuntu server as a gateway/firewall (NAT box) and email server. It has finally died. I'd like to replace it with a new machine. I checked on newegg a bit, but I'm not a hardware geek so I'd like to query the hivemind for their ideas.


1) The new machine can be fairly bare-bones, I run it headless 99.9% of the time and it mostly just collects email and passes packets. This means I don't care very much about memory, CPU, or graphics processing.
2) Ideally a dual-LAN motherboard, but I'll buy a five dollar PCI card to add the second ethernet interface if I have to. Only one interface needs to be gigabit ethernet.
3) Ideally x86, but AMD is fine if the price is significantly lower.
4) Has a RAID controller (RAID 1 specifically, but I've never heard of one that didn't support that). I want to add a pair of drives (already have them) as backup storage, in RAID 1.
5) Price is the main factor subject to the above, but I'm willing to pay a teeny bit more for something that will last longer (i.e., something with better-quality components). Maximum ~$300, ideally less.

I've assembled systems from components before, so I can put anything together that needs be.
posted by axiom to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
The Do It Yourself NAS site might have some helpful information about choosing hardware.

Given your price/power requirements, have you considered small embedded linux systems such as the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone? With an external hardware RAID drive enclosure, they might make more sense than building a full-fledged system.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2013

The RAID1/HDD issue aside, I've been using an alix2d3 running m0n0wall as a router (gateway/firewall/NAT) device. Now I'm looking for something a bit more powerful but still fanless so I'm probably going to install pfSense on something like a SuperMicro X7SPA-HF later this year. IPMI so headless is easy. It says Windows only for the 6 SATA RAID, but wouldn't you rather just go with mdadm if you're using Linux? (I say this as someone who has a sizable RAID6 mdadm powered array on in a 4U Super Micro case. Maybe one day I'll migrate to ZFS as it matures on Linux.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:52 PM on May 3, 2013

Response by poster: I do need something more on the 'full fledged' end of things, rather than OS on a USB drive, because I use it for more than just NAT (usually qmail + apache for personal projects and nagios, nothing high traffic). I'm thinking maybe this Jetway mobo/cpu/graphics combo with this mini-ITX case and 4GB memory. I'll cannibalize the old machine's working parts (I think it's the mobo on the old one that is dead, the power supply seems OK because it still wants to power up, and the disks and dvd burner are fine too).
posted by axiom at 8:51 AM on May 4, 2013

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