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Author: Matt Morley 
Date:   06-12-02 20:14

I'm about to collocate my first freebsd box outside my home network. I've been using other hosts for years, but this is my first colo box of my own.

I know some of you here colo freebsd boxes, so I'm looking for `words from the wise`.

I haven't shipped the box out yet, and have a few weeks to do as much as possible to make things run smoothly when it arrives. My home network is mainly freebsd so I know about making it headless, disabling unneeded services, etc.

The issues that are still sticky in my mind are time, data integrity, and firewalling.

I'm in EST and the server will be out in California. Chances are I'm going to run the server in GMT/UT and sync with time server. Any pro's/con's beside the user management?

I'm going to get an ide raid card and mirror the main drive, and/or setup some type of shadow drive. The data on the drives is not mission critical by any stretch, but getting it back quickly to running condition is very important. I've already arranged for off-site backups to live machines and am contemplating adding a shadow drive which can be used during failure of both mirrored drives. Do you guys use shadow drives (basically rsync'd during quiet times on the server)? or have other suggestions?

I'm probably going to setup a firewall on this machine to really close unneeded ports. Do any of you do this on your `non-firewall only` machines?
Matt Morley (MPCM)

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 Re: Colocation...
Author: .daniel.schrock 
Date:   06-12-02 23:04

a shadow drive won't do you any good except for back up purposes.
if the mirrored disks fail, how are you going to get the shadow disk to boot?
you need some sort of console server so you can use a serial console- a cisco 2509 is greeat for this. what happens if a reboot doesn't fix the problem or the system won't fully boot?
IMO, having a system that far away isn't the greatest idea. The harder it is to get to, the more problems requiring physical intervention you will have... murphy's law...

as for raid cards, don't go cheap... buy a 3ware Escalade, set up raid 10 with 4 disks and give it 2 hot spares.

to each his own, but i'm thinking this is not such a great idea... invest the money in a better connection at home.

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 Re: Colocation...
Author: Dan Langille 
Date:   08-12-02 03:37

.daniel.schrock wrote:
> to each his own, but i'm thinking this is not such a great
> idea... invest the money in a better connection at home.

Some applications make home connections cost prohibitive.

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 Re: Colocation...
Author: .daniel.schrock 
Date:   08-12-02 03:44

but considering the cost of flying across the country to get to a single system with no console connection that can't boot past single user mode, i would say that colocating a single system is cost prohibitive as well...

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 Re: Colocation...
Author: Matt Morley 
Date:   08-12-02 13:35

I've got a buddy (x-coworker) living *nearby* (an hours drive), I've talked with him about being on call for me for support work for emergencies. So I can have someone out there who knows something about computers besides the isp's staff. He worked 3rd shift with my managing *nix machines. The isp's staff claims to have the knowledge to setup FreeBSD, but that thought scares me and compromises the security of my box in my mind.

I worked for tier I isp for a while doing support for big *nix machines, usually I had a console port to get to... but it was all hands off and in datacenter somewhere else in the world. It doesn't bother me all that much as long as everything I send/setup is well documented.

I'd love to get a faster connection, or even local colo. But no one else comes close on price, and the fastest home connection I can get is cable (no DSL), a T1 to my house which is comparable to the package I'm getting is about $2k/mo whereas the colo is under $500.

In the colo package I'm getting, I can place additional machines there. If I was to send more machines in the future... i'd send a console terminal server. I know what I'm trying to do isn't ideal, but given the my budget it is really all that is possible.

I've considered leaving unconnected drives in the box that are fully bootable, powered, but not ribbon'd up running. Also I can (and plan to attempt to) automate the freebsd install so that once a new drive is in I can just have them pop in my install cd and it'll do an install without their intervention to my specs.

Matt Morley (MPCM)

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