Build a Clus­ter

Maximum PC - - PUT YOUR PI TO WORK -

EAR­LIER, WE MEN­TIONED the pos­si­bil­ity of in­stalling Docker con­tain­ers on the Rasp­berry Pi. While they’re ex­cel­lent at get­ting pre­con­fig­ured ap­pli­ca­tions run­ning, there’s an­other as­pect of Docker that suits the Pi’s low cost and low en­ergy foot­print very well: Swarm mode. In essence, it’s a sim­ple way of set­ting up clus­ter com­put­ing, which com­bines mul­ti­ple phys­i­cal ma­chines with net­work­ing to cre­ate a sin­gle log­i­cal ma­chine. Hook up two Rasp­berry Pi 3 units as pro­cess­ing nodes, for ex­am­ple, and you’ll have eight ARM cores and 2GB RAM at your dis­posal. Scale it up, and you’ll out­pace the pro­cess­ing power of the orig­i­nal Cray su­per­com­put­ers with only a small in­vest­ment.

Nor­mally, this isn’t at all easy, as any­one whose high school com­puter lab had them set up a Be­owulf clus­ter of tired Pen­tium 2 ma­chines will at­test. Thank­fully, the soft­ware wizards at Hypriot have de­vel­oped the Clus­ter Lab, a su­per-sim­ple way to set up a Docker Swarm with sev­eral Rasp­berry Pi units. Check out the in­struc­tions at http://github. com/hypriot/clus­ter-lab. In essence, you sim­ply need to flash a spe­cific OS im­age to each node, tell them they’re part of a swarm, and they’ll find each other, and work to­gether au­to­mat­i­cally. Now it’s just a ques­tion of what to do with your clus­ter...

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