One of the keys to getting the most out of pfSense at a reasonable cost is to spend some time on hardware sizing and selection. It is entirely possible that you may already have hardware, such as an old desktop computer, that you can repurpose for use with pfSense. But even in these cases, it is beneficial to start by determining exactly what you need from your pfSense firewall.
With pfSense, we are presented with a wide array of configuration choices that can make a determination of minimum requirements somewhat difficult. It will run well on state-of-the-art hardware, but often this is not the most cost-effective option. In this chapter, we will discuss some of the factors we consider when deciding which hardware to use. By presenting these factors as a series of recipes, we can follow a step-by-step approach, an approach that tends to ensure the hardware we use is capable of getting the job done at a reasonable cost.
In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:
- Determining our deployment scenario
- Determining our throughput requirements
- Determining our interface requirements
- Choosing a standard or embedded image
- Choosing a form factor