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Fun Stuff IPv6

IPv6 Public NTP Servers

Roller Network is pleased to announce the availability of two public NTP servers available over IPv6. Do you have IPv6? Now there’s one more thing you can do: set your clock with it!

The Roller Network Public NTP servers are:

  • ntp6a.rollernet.us
  • ntp6b.rollernet.us

These servers are physically located in Reno, Nevada, United States. By using these servers you agree to configure your NTP client according to the Open Access Time Server Guidelines.

With our low latency IPv6 native network core and IPv6 native dual-stacked transit providers, Roller Network can provide IPv6 connectivity at the same quality of service as IPv4 – there are no tunnels of any kind in our network. If you find this service useful please consider supporting Roller Network by using any of our paid-for services.

Disclaimers: This is a public service with no warranty and no guarantees. All forms of known and unknown abuse are prohibited. We reserve the right to define abuse at our discretion. Do not use “burst”. Do not configure using IP addresses. Do not hardcode our DNS names or IP addresses. No IPv4 access. We simply ask everyone to respect the service so we can continue to offer it.

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Fun Stuff

UPDATE: Atom D510 Servers as RRs

We’ve been working with the two Atom D510 servers we intend to use as dedicated route reflectors and came across a small problem we though prudent to share. (Original post: Atom D510 Servers as Route Reflectors) It’s not a showstopper, rather it should be classified as “annoying”.

The Atom servers come with on board IPMI 2.0 capabilities. It’s great for the price – remote KVM, virtual media, sensors, and more. However, we’ve discovered that the sensors don’t seem to coexist well with the operating system (in our case, OpenBSD) polling them as well. Eventually the sensor values will go out of bounds high, low, disappear or return incorrect results and requires a power cycle to reset them. So, we ended up using config(8) to disable the iic* and wbsio* devices to prevent the kernel from accessing them.

Instead, if local sensor monitoring is needed then using ipmitool to talk to the on board IPMI IP address is an acceptable workaround, although not as clean cut. We suspect there is a contention issue between the on board IPMI plus the OS accessing the sensors that eventually leads to the issue we observed.

This does not affect the Atom 330 since it doesn’t have onboard IPMI. Furthermore, reading the 330’s sensors through the operating system reports additional data such as fan RPM (with our case fan mod) whereas this data was only presented via IPMI on the D510.

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Fun Stuff

Atom D510 Servers as Route Reflectors

We’re provisioning a pair of our Atom D510 dedicated servers to be used as OpenBSD BGP route reflectors within our network core. Over the last month we’ve been testing this setup with great success on a spare D510, so we went ahead and ordered a pair to dedicated to the task. In the pictures you can see the inside of the D510 case with a couple changes from its stock config:

  • A 2-port Intel PCIe Gigabit Ethernet adapter. We needed at least three Ethernet ports: one for management and two for diverse links into network core for redundancy.
  • There is no hard drive: the boot device is the blue 4GB USB flash drive.
  • A high-speed 15,000 RPM fan at the front air vent for airflow in an otherwise fanless case. Initial testing shows a 10 degree reduction in reported temperature. The fan is quite loud but moves a significant amount of air. We opted for a powerful fan so we wouldn’t need to add baffles. (It might even be too much fan!)
Inside view of the D510 (with add-ons)

As a service provider we believe in the products we sell and utilize them in our own operations – we “eat our own dogfood” as the saying goes. These servers running OpenBSD fill the role as dedicated route reflectors (a CPU heavy role) perfectly at a fraction of the cost of a name-brand solution. As a customer, you could use this type of setup as a router for a cluster of dedicated servers or combine it with colocation.

Rear view of the D510 (with PCIe Ethernet card)

These customizations can be ordered options on our dedicated server offering. The additional fan is something we’re trying on ourselves first, after which we plan to offer them to our existing dedicated server customers as an option at no cost. The fan will also become standard equipment. We’re also testing a slightly lower RPM fan (10k vs. 15k) in the interest of noise reduction.

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Announcements Fun Stuff

Dedicated Server as a Diskless Router

We have a new customer who wanted to customize one of our dedicated servers for use as a router. The Atom boards we use for dedicated servers have an on-board USB port, but it faces up towards the top of the case, severely limiting the size of the USB flash drive you can plug in to it within a 1U chassis. After some searching we were able to find a 4GB flash drive that fit in the space available (after freeing it from its outer case) and installed Vyatta on it.

Flash Drive on a Dedicated Server

Since it’s booting off of the flash drive plugged into the internal USB port we also removed the hard drive from the case. It does not touch the top of the case with the cover installed and there’s enough clearance to account for cover flex.

UPDATE: This worked out quite well so we’ve decided to add it as an option.