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Mikrotik CCR1036-8G-2S+ running nonstandard OS?
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1clue
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:50 pm    Post subject: Mikrotik CCR1036-8G-2S+ running nonstandard OS? Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm contemplating a Mikrotik/routerboard CCR1036-8G-2S+. http://routerboard.com/CCR1036-8G-2Splus

I'm a little nervous, the thing comes with a commercialized OS (RouterOS) but that OS is supposedly based on Linux.

First, I'd like to ask if anyone is using this or something like it. If so, do you have any observations or recommendations?

Second, I'd like to know how easily it would run a normal Linux distro, if I find that their RouterOS is too inconvenient. BTW Gentoo would be included in 'normal Linux distro'.

My intent is as follows:

  1. SOHO environment.
  2. One port gets a typical SOHO Wifi appliance (LinkSys EA6500)
  3. I need 4 VLANs, one of which is the wifi appliance and another of which is VPN, which would be supplied by this Mikrotik box.
  4. I need solid VPN performance at external line rate (35 mbps) and not significantly slow down normal routing.
  5. I'm planning 2 virtualization servers, and contemplating a 10gbe card in each.
  6. I'm hoping the SFP+ ports on the router can be configured to hook the virtualization servers up to them. They're marked "uplink" but I would not be using them as uplink ports.


The thing is, I'd like my router to be 3 separate firewalls. I want isolation between each stage of it, so if the outside one gets hacked they don't have my entire network at their disposal. Does anyone know if virtualization works on this box? Or maybe multiple jailed images?

Thanks.
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Hu
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The linked page says it is a TILE based system. I believe this refers to the family of processors handled by arch/tile in Linux. If so, this device will not be an x86/amd64 board, so if you can install a custom OS on it at all, you will not be able to reuse any packages from your regular machines. I have no experience with it to say whether you can install a custom OS or how difficult it would be. I would prefer something based on an Intel Atom. Those come in both x86 and amd64 versions, are relatively low power, and can be fit in fairly small form factors.
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N8Fear
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As stated by Hu above there is tile support in the linux kernel (and even a tilegx defconfig). gcc supports Tile as architecture since 4.7, llvm support exists nearly a year. You can find a walkthough here: http://www.tilera.com/scm/source.html.

So it should be possible to get an own system rolling even if you'll have some work to do. The other question is, what functions need to be implemented in software and if there are open source programs that offer the needed funtionality or if most things (like switching) are handled in hardware anyways.

Could be a fun project but possibly it would take some time before you have something that is reasonably working...
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I got to all those pages yesterday, and was too excited to remember to post back here.

They use Zero Overhead Linux, and they offer one option with a preconfigured linux box as a host.

I haven't gotten anything back from Tilera yet, but it looks like this is a lot more than just routing. They're supposedly 64-bit processors, up to 72 of them on a single chip. They obviously can't be an equivalent to an x86_64 chip on each core, but they're positioning these chips as strong on video processing and other non-networking applications.

It appears to me that if you ave visions of a Beowulf cluster you could just stack a few of these up. The 36-core and 72-core boards can be booted up without a motherboard, you just supply power and a network boot image. If you look for applications, you see all sorts of really interesting stuff.

Mikrotik is taking the obvious route here and using the device for networking. But it appears the motherboard is only a launch pad, and that the switching and other networking software is run on the card itself.

This is the first time I've seen white papers from places like Intel, where virtualization based hardware architectures have support only in Linux, no mention of Microsoft on a lot of them.

The crazy thing is, some of the hardware doesn't seem to be that expensive.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This brings a question to mind: I've never done a cross compiler or even compiling for another machine on the same architecture using Linux.

Just as a frame of reference, assume this machine: http://www.tilera.com/sites/default/files/productbriefs/TILEmpower-Gx72-PB042-01.pdf

I know this is just speculation because the Tilera people haven't responded yet, but I suspect people on this forum know about cross compiling. This box is probably a barebones x86 Linux box, only it's a 1U which means it would be intolerably noisy. (So really I'd probably get the card and stick it in my own box) The card is a pcie3 8-lane card, with 8x 10gbe ports. It will have Zero Overhead Linux on it, which is CentOS (blech). It would already have the IDE on it (Eclipse. Oh well) and thus it would be set up for cross compiling.

So the arch/tile support is already in the kernel. ZOL uses a pretty old kernel, but I guess I'd have to live with it for the moment.

Assuming that I would build on Gentoo, is it feasible to have x86 Gentoo build for itself AND for the tile processor?

More interestingly, what about using the 72-core tile chip to compile for x86? From the papers, it seems that this is just a really fast massively parallel SoC with really good networking built in. Every one of the boards they supply has really fast networking, but the CPU throughput is able to saturate the ethernet bandwidth of each card, and then some.

I had contemplated this thing as a switch, for VM hosts, but now I'm wondering just how versatile the board is. I think it might be the fastest computer on my network if I go this route, and since I'm after a bunch of VMs I wonder if I couldn't/shouldn't just stack a bunch of them?
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N8Fear
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Distcc/Cross-Compiling and http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/embedded/handbook/cross-compiler.xml?style=printable
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1clue
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That explains a lot in the first couple paragraphs, but of course I'm going to have to read the whole thing.
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1clue
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah. Thanks for the reference. :)
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philkelly6
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at openwrt's progress putting their OS on Mikrotik CCR:

https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=50897
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