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I'm currently running a Raspberry Pi 2 which hosts

  • a mailserver environment (postfix, dovecot)
  • a webserver (apache2, owncloud, roundcube)
  • a VPN service (openVPN)
  • and a backup service (rsnapshot).

A few days ago I updated to Debian Jessie, for which I created a new SD-Card and moved the mentioned services to that new card. It took a certain time, but worked in the end. Now, since I have a few Raspberrys lying around unused, I thought about separating the services such that each Raspberry serves only one particular purpose (mail, web, vpn and backup). IMHO, the advantages would be

  • easier administration for larger system updates / for fixing some misconfigurations etc.
  • higher availability/reliability due to non single point of failure
  • higher security in case a system gets hacked.

On the otherside, there is of course some overhead when settings up the system(s), as well as an increased power consumption.

What I'd like to ask now is if there is some experience for separating the services onto multiple Raspberrys. Has anybody done so or thought about it? Maybe there are some additional advantages or drawbacks I didn't think of.

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So long as performance is adequate with a single RPi, I wouldn't separate them. I've gone the other way in migrating more services to my always-on RPi B, in fact. Migrating from an older B/B+ to a 2B makes good sense.

Other than backing up your configs and installing the prerequisite packages for each service, there shouldn't be any huge challenges doing what you've described.

I like to install unattended-upgrades to make sure at least critical security updates are applied even when I don't get to all my systems regularly. I also install molly-guard to make sure I don't shut the wrong one down.

If these are exposed to the Internet (sounds like it), I'd definitely isolate them on one or, better, multiple DMZs.

| improve this answer | |
  • I agree. I think it is the same as any domain server -- if it all works okay on one machine (or one slice of one machine) it's fine. If the load is too high, then you need to think about distributing it. A great thing about the pi is it is so low power; the challenge is getting as much as you can out of that. – goldilocks May 21 '15 at 12:38

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