Question about potential build pfsense/opnsense

I have gotten my hands on a 1u device that I am looking to put to work as a replacement pfSense/opnSense box, so that I can have something sipping a little less power than my current one. Given that this is the first time I have ever played around with a headless only computer (management ports, serial port, 3 network jacks, but no video card out.

The device in a prior life was a Blue Coat SG S200 with an i3-4330 processor, 8 GB ram and a 16 GB SSD drive that is void of operating system. Would it be usable as is, with just some tweaks (and figuring out how to get an operating system on it), or would I be looking at replacing a component or two?

I don’t see why that wouldn’t work well as a Pfsense rig. Processor and RAM are more than enough. You don’t need to get an OS on it, PFsense installs with it’s own OS. If you look through the Netgate documentation there’s plenty of information on how to install it on a headless system or one with serial access.

The main issues I’m having is getting any access. I can’t get into bios to change boot order, so that I can boot off anything other than this 16 GB drive that’s in it. I was able to remove it and install opnsense on it via Hyper-V and giving it direct access to that drive. It boots, but gets hung up right at the end before it loads the “running” console.

In general you’d need to get in vid management or serial ports to install an is.

No idea how on this model. Hopefully a manual is available?

Sadly, any manual I have found online has been quite unhelpful. Even from the older posts I could dig up, apparently if the device just “lost” it’s factory installed operating system, an RMA was involved to swap out the SSD that held the OS. Since this had been erased pre-shipment, there were few command line tools available through serial console connectivity in order to do anything other than ensure the device worked.

I was able to the SSD that was originally used to house the OS into another machine and load opnSense onto it, and then pfSense, but then run into an issue of getting it to boot fully and successfully. I’m sure there is a way to get this worked out, just have to plug away at it to get it working, and then I can replace my current, way too big pfSense box with something smaller and friendlier on the power drain. (Or, can repurpose the current rig I’m using to run pfSense to run something more useful and/or entertaining).

Is it possible to access the motherboard?
If so is there any type of expansion slot, like PCI/PCIE?
If there is - put in any old graphics card temporarily and try to boot it.

Well, tossed in the video card (had to power down my current pfsense box as it was the only one with a spare video card that didn’t require external power, etc etc). Got it going, found out why it wasn’t exactly working (lots of errors in the boot). Extracted the 16 GB boot drive, stripped it out of its protective holding, slapped it in as the boot drive of my laptop and actually got it working… so far.

Now for a different rainy day, I’ll figure out which port is which, which port I need to use for WAN/LAN… and why 2 of the ports show up in software, but plug anything in and no link lights come up.

Or maybe one day I’ll find a good case that I can just transplant in my current pfsense rig into. Damn thing is still rock solid.