Pfsense on Xenserver

As I digressed in my last post, virtualizing pfSense wasn’t as difficult as I expected. From what I’d read online I was afraid it would have some adverse affect on network performance, especially considering most of my “infrastructure” is reclaimed, second-hand, or otherwise cast-off from production use.

It fully appears, however, that these fears were unfounded (standard Spectrum cable, don’t judge):

Physical 32bit
Xen Virtualized 64bit

Barely noticeable, and honestly well within the standard variance of such types of throughput tests.

The change did require some cabling rework, obviously. Especially since my VMs are HA-enabled and can change which physical host they live on from time to time…

What I settled on was using one of the unused NIC ports on each host to create a pool-wide “EXT” network to which I can attach interfaces that need to talk directly to the Spectrum equipment, like the WAN interface in pfSense.

HA Xen Guest

Note the extra “desktop” style dumb switch to separate the physical uplink connections from each host. My primary switch is unmanaged, as well, so no VLANs for me. FML.


I think this has been a pretty worthwhile endeavor. I’ll have to wait and see how it recovers when there’s a power outage at my apartments, but overall anything I can do to lower the power usage by my little rack I’m all for. That little desktop switch has to use less power than the old Pentium4 firewall device, not to mention the noticeable lack of 4x high-RPM fans running all the time…

Anyway, I’m off to see a special theatrical showing of Howl’s Moving Castle. See you Space Cowboys.

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