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After many months of development, P 2.2-BETA is finally here. P is an excellent router/ firewall distribution based on FreeBSD. Personally, I use P on a daily basis and have been using P 2.2-ALPHA for many months now. The move from P 2.1 to 2.2 may sound trivial, but it has absolutely huge implications for the distribution. Probably the biggest of which is that P 2.2 is based on FreeBSD 10 while 2.1 was based off of FreeBSD 8.3. The bottom line here is that there is an absolutely massive upgrade in driver support as well as other key features (e.g. multi-threaded pf support.) e7-8880l v3

One feature that has made me try P 2.2-ALPHA for the past few months is that it supports? Microsoft’s integration components for Hyper-V in the base FreeBSD kernel. What that practically means is that P 2.2 can be run in Hyper-V virtual machines, and platforms such as a Windows 8.1 Pro desktop or the base Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 (free) hypervisor.

The Intel Avoton and Rangely (Intel Atom C2000 series) processors have been extremely popular both on this site and with P users. Many designs incorporate a low power SoC and four gigabit Ethernet ports. We have P both at the colo and I have a P machine at home. This P machine has a Supermicro A1SAi-2550F with a quad-core Intel Atom C2550 processor. RAM was just upgraded to 32GB in the box and this weekend saw another 480GB of SSD storage. The machine runs Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 as a base operating system.

C2550 P 2.2 Hyper-V

Network services such as P, a Ubuntu network functions server and a MAAS server are all housed on the C2550 server. One NIC is WAN, one is a dedicated Hyper-V management NIC and the other two are teamed to the home network (because Hyper-V is great with that.) The net impact is an awesome little server.

This week, Supermicro sent along a motherboard to test that is going to revolutionize P. The 9.6″ x 8″ A1SRM-LN7F-2758. This beastly motherboard uses the quad Intel i354, a dual-port Intel i350-AM2 and a single port Intel i210AT network controller. Most of the NICs can run in standalone or in bypass? mode.

Supermicro A1SRM-LN7F-2758 Stock Photo

Overall, it is excellent for a network appliance and there will be more to come soon. Check out the forum thread as we already have benchmarks, Lspci output and thermal images posted. The bottom line is that with bypass? options and 7x network NICs, an 8 core processor, QuickAssist, and other features, this is going to be the low power network platform going forward. It is currently running Hyper-V and P 2.2-BETA which is an awesome experience.

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