PfSense Guest Notes

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Tweaks and tips for better performance with pfSense >= 2.2 on Proxmox >= 3.4.

Note: This has been tested with pfSense 2.2 and Proxmox 3.4 (qemu 2.1)

Create VM

  • Download the pfSense 2.2 amd64 "Live CD with installer" ISO .gz (from here), extract (gunzip) and transfer the ISO to your Proxmox server.
  • Create a new VM:
    • CPU: dual-socket or dual-core
      • IMPORTANT: cpu type 'default kvm64' works, but if pfSense does not boot try 'qemu64' instead.
        Alternatively do the following:
        Either by escaping to boot prompt and run:
        • set hw.mca.enabled=0
        • boot
        • Or start with CPU emulation qemu64
      • After successful boot: echo "hw.mca.enabled=0" >> /boot/loader.conf.local
        Above fix means that any CPU model can be used (verified on Opteron). Documentation here -> pfSense forum
    • RAM: 512 MB (minimum)
    • Network: 2 or more Virtio (bridged)
    • Create a 8GB primary disk, Virtio (scsi, qcow2)
    • Add pfSense-LiveCD-2.2-RELEASE-amd64.iso ISO as an optical drive
    • Options, use tablet for pointers: No (you don't have to use mouse to manage it, if disabled reduces interrupts)

Network Virtio consideration

In the guest network interfaces names are like 'vtnetX'

IMPORTANT: Enter the web GUI and go in System > Advanced > Networking and flag Disable hardware checksum offload. If you don't do it layer3 traffic from lan to wan will not work, or will be really slow (but traffic to/from the firewall will work fine: see the pf sense wiki about virtio for details https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/VirtIO_Driver_Support )