Saturday, May 21, 2016

10 Node Raspberry Pi Cluster - Part 1

Sometime back I posted about a BitScope 10 Raspberry Pi rack ( ) I recently purchased the same as, well as some accessories to go along with it to make a 10 node Raspberry Pi cluster.

PS: I was impressed it only took 4 days for it to ship to the US from Australia !

The idea is to use a Lenovo Thinkpad older model charger 170w or 135w (I found one for under $35). You can buy Lenovo tip adapters that convert from the old tip to the new tip. I bought one of these and cut the wire to make my power supply for the cluster. Each raspberry pi takes 5v 2amps = 10Watts. The BitScope rack can accept anything between 7 V and 48 V DC - so the 20V DC out of the Thinkpad chargers work just fine. And since there are 10 Raspberry Pis, that's 10 x 10Watt = 100 Watts. So a 170 or 135 Watt charger allows for some leeway with power dissipation as well ( not that the Pi will take the full 10 Watts running headless with no peripherals connected - you probably could get away with a 90 Watt charger, but why risk it).

The above picture shows the thinkpad charger, an un-mutilated tip adpater on the left, and the one I cut and plan to splice the wires on the right.

I ordered 10x Raspberry Pi3 boards from MCM Electronics ( ) since they seem to be the only place that's not fleecing you by marking the pis up over the retail value. Unfortunately though, that is the one piece of the puzzle that hasn't shipped out to me yet.

The remaining pieces of the puzzle are all here in this picture:
APC UPS, Netgear 16 port 10/100 switch (the Pis only have 10/100 ethernet anyway), 10x 1.5ft Ethernet cables, 10x 32GB MicroSD cards (why waste money on larger cards since this is an experiment anyway), the power supply pieces described above, 14gauge connecting wires (14 gauge is probably overkill - you can run over 10ft of it at 100Watts) etc. Oh, and I included the one Raspberry Pi 3 that I had, since the 10 piece shipment hasn't reached me yet.

The idea:

I plan to do three things
(1) Heterogeneous Hadoop cluster: 
I picked up a used Lenovo Thinkpad T430 off craigslist, that I run Ubuntu Mate 16.04 on. I plan to make a 11 node heterogeneous hadoop cluster with the T430 as the master / namenode & resource manager, and the 10x Raspberry Pis as datanodes. I'll have IP assignments configured on my wireless router onto which I will plug in the switch above. The T430 will be part of the network over wireless, but the datanodes will all be on the wired network.

(2) Homogeneous Hadoop cluster:
Given the explanation for the heterogeneous cluster above, the homogeneous case is a trivial simplification. Use one of the Raspberry Pis or maybe the one I already have as the master node.

(3) CoreOS / Mesos clsuter:
This is the one I have very little clarity on at this point. The idea is to setup a CoreOS ( ) or Apache Mesos ( ) cluster using the Raspberry Pis and run docker containers on it. It would be cool to create a fake application (like a library management / inventory management system or something) that uses the LAMP stack (MySQL container, HTTPD container etc) to deploy on the cluster as well. It would also be cool to have HAProxy on a container load-balancing a bunch of stateless HTTPD containers, all connecting to the MySQL container. We'll see how far I get on this one!


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