ROMWNET Upgrades (2020)

2020 turns out to be a hardware refresh year for ROMWNET.

I’ve upgraded the network to a 10Gbps backplane using a Netgear XS716T linking to the already existingNetgear M4100-26G through a 4Gbps LACP connection.

I’ve added a Asustor AS7010T to the mix for storage and backup archival purposes. I went ahead and upgraded the box to include an additional 8GB of RAM and a 10Gb network adapter. In total, I have 32TBs of storage split between magnetic state and solid state.

Infrastructure Nodes

M350 Universal Mini-ITX enclosure

These passively cooled and self-contained Hyper-V machines host virtual machines critical to network operations. These virtual machines keep the network up and the Internet accessible in case the main cluster goes offline for whatever reason. Critical services include a Firewall, Intrusion Detection System, Mail Smarthost System, Authentication Systems, and a Z-wave Home Automation Controller.


Chassis:Minibox M350
System Board:Supermicro A1SRi-2758F
Memory:4 X 8GB Unbuffered ECC SO-DIMM DDR3 1600MHz
Network:4 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
1 RJ45 Dedicated IPMI LAN port
Hard Drive:Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Cluster Nodes

SuperChassis E300

These actively cooled Hyper-V machines are configured in a automatic failover configuration for all the remaining virtual machines on the network.

Originally I attempted to re-use the spare M350 chassis I had lying around with the X11SDV, but I discovered that the heatsink alone could not dissipate enough heat to keep the system from shutting off while idling for 5 minutes. So, I tried the SCE300 with the Noctua NF-A4x20 PWM fans which would allow the system to stay up while idling but would shutdown under load.

I ended up using the Supermicro FAN-0100L4 fans which move enough air to keep the system cool while even under load.


Chassis:Supermicro SCE300
System Board:Supermicro X11SDV-8C-TLN2F
Memory:4 X 64GB DDR4-2133 4Rx4 LP ECC LRDIMM
Network:2 RJ45 10GBase-T ports
1 RJ45 Dedicated IPMI LAN port
Hard Drive:M Key M.2 NVME SSD to PCI-e 3.0 x4 Host Controller Expansion Card
Samsung 970 PRO SSD 1TB – M.2 NVME


Overall, I have been very happy with the systems performance and stability over the last few months. My only complaint about the new configuration, over the old configuration, is the fan noise even when most of the system is idle.


—– Rom

Blog Migration

After a seriously long time, I’ve finally upgraded my blogging platform to WordPress. Dasblog was no longer being supported and I started receiving emails from a security firm (known to me) stating that my blog was being used as an open redirection relay for bad actors.

I managed to migrate all my previous blog posts, but was unable to keep the comments, trackbacks, or pings. I haven’t yet figured out how to handle the DasBlog permalink issue yet, maybe I’ll get to that at some point. Sorry for breaking all the existing links.

—– Rom

ROMWNET Upgrades

Over the last few weeks I’ve been upgrading ROMWNET. My bandwidth requirements have been increasing pretty quick, last December my website served up 2.5GBs of data, last month it served up 3GBs. Already this month it has served up 4GBs and climbing.

Most of the traffic is coming from the various search engines and web crawlers out there. I am actually surprised at how many different search engines there are.

It was pretty apparent by the middle of last month that my network equipment was no longer capable of handling the load I needed it to handle anymore. Using my phone during certain times of the day was useless, I use Vonageand since my primary firewall/router was a Netgear FWAG114 which didn’t support QOS packets queues, my phone would cut in and out if the search engines started to download a few pictures at the same time.

As good as the FWAG114 was, it would still crash if you were using BitTorrent and was downloading something with 2000 or 2500 seeders.

In this major overhaul I also wanted to reclaim my notebook which was my acting VM server since my media center machine had been out of commission since the move.

So after a couple of weekends of work and some new equipment I now have something better than I had before, with most of my requirements fulfilled.

I purchased three M300-LCD systems, used two of them as VM servers, and one as a pfSense 1.0.1 embedded firewall device.

Setting up pfSense turned out to be a non-trivial exercise with the M300-LCD since the gigabit Ethernet adapters have a newer PCI identifier then the version of FreeBSD that pfSense relies on knows how to deal with. I’ll write another post about that experience.

—– Rom

Recent Happenings

Well I’m still unpacking from my move.

I’m sharing a house with my friend Candace, or rather I should say I’m living in a house in which I have a bedroom and an office and she has a pottery showcase area(living room) and studio(two bedrooms joined together). We share the bathrooms, living room and kitchen. She lives with her boyfriend.

Shortly after my stuff arrived I found out my media center was broken, which is a major bummer, we got it all put together and hooked up to the TV and it wouldn’t boot. I’m in the process of trying to get the moving company to pay for sending it off for repairs.

My media center also used to be the host for a few virtual machines which hosted some of my basic network services, and the virtual machine software I’m using didn’t support using a wireless network adapter. So I had been using a long ass network cable to connect it to my router in my previous house. When Candace saw that setup for the first time I got an evil look and said the word “No” in a tone of voice where you knew it wasn’t open for debate. I guess that was a little too much geek for her.

So I had to find a solution where I could host my virtual machines and not cost an arm and a leg and what I found was this beauty Mini-Box M300-LCD. So in the not to distant future I’ll be picking one up so I can reclaim my notebook and use it for what it was designed for.

One of the things I really like about this mini computer is that Mini-Boxreleased the technical specs for the LCD display, which means anybody can write some control software for it.

Well after playing around with their stock toolset I decided I needed to write my own. Their stock toolset requires you to be logged into the machine so a system tray applet can run before you can change any of the text on the display.

I’m launching the HID LCD Service Toolset for Windows project, HIDLCDTools for short. My goal is to have some software that runs as a service which you can use to control that LCD display. In my case I will want it to cycle threw the virtual machine software statistics and display useful information.

I’m really excited about doing this.

—– Rom

[Update: Candace felt the picture I had up here wasn’t very flattering, so I removed it at her request.]

FOLLOW-UP: Comment Submission/DNS Problems

Well I installed a newer version of dasBlog which has better error handling when using the Akismet spam blocking service.

As of right now things seem to be working with them again, I sent them a network sniff of a failure last night.

I still haven’t been able to reproduce or fix the Firefox 2.x problem. For now the solution seems to be use a different browser, I don’t like the solution but it is the only one I have at present.

—– Rom

Comment Submission/DNS Problems

I’ve had several people tell me comments were not working the last couple of days.

It turns out two problems were happening at the same time.

My ISP’s DNS servers are freaking out about something and not fulfilling requests, and my blog could not successfully find Akismet to verify comments with.

OzzFan originally reported the problem but I had forgotten I was already logged into my blogging software and so it doesn’t run my comments through the spam filter.

I have switched my machines over to using OpenDNSDNS Servers, Akismet is still giving me a problem though so I have it disabled for right now.

Sorry about the problems everybody, I wasn’t intentionally blocking anybody from posting anything good or bad about me or BOINC.

—– Rom