High availability and load balancing

July 14th, 2007

I've been thinking a lot about hardware setups. Its all about low-latency, high response time, high availability, not throughput!


  • Little Valley - on-board and PCI 10/100/1000 nic, disk-on-module
  • OS - m0n0wall or pfsense?

Load balancers:

  • Little Valley? Fast FSB, processor, and decent sized L2 cache
  • Hard drive
  • OS - debian etch or pfsense?


  • Gigabyte mainboard with pci-e sata cards and gigE pci-e network card(s)
  • RAM - 4GB or more?
  • 4 hot swap drives = RAID 5


  • gigE for connection to NAS and database
  • Hard drives - 2x = RAID 0
  • RAM - 4GB
  • RAM - 4GB
  • RAID 5
  • Low latency
  • Little valley with gigE card (limited by PCI) to switch (intel)
  • 1GB ram
  • small case + power supply (iStarUSA)
  • Disk on module
  • decTOP!
  • Asterisk / Askozia:
  • PC Engines WRAP or t5125 thin client
General favorites:
  • Low end: little valley, great price, solid product, good for firewall when paired with second nic (gbE to connect with LAN)
  • Medium grade: via EN12000EG - great power consumption, decent speed, decent price, well supported gigE on-board, good for load balancers.
  • high end: MSI Industrial 945GM1 - good RAM capacity, supports great chips with huge caches, dual gigE, good for servers
Where does something like the HP t5725 fit in with 256 MB of RAM and a great processor? DNS server? Load balancer? Askozia server? It is actually cost effective because everything is included, the board, box, ram, and all.


  • istar
  • morex
  • thermaltake
  • Logic Supply
  • newegg
Since originally drafting this post, I've been working with pfSense, which includes a load balancer. I've found it to be much faster and responsive than ultramonkey, and although I'm sure that has something to do with how I configured ultramonkey and the hardware I ran it on, I also found pfSense to be much easier to configure. Since pfSense can also provide high-availability through CARP, I'm going to switch to using it instead of ultramonkey for webserver load balancing.
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