Picocluster

First Steps

I bought 5 Raspberry Pi3’s after doing a quick analysis of the available mini computer boards that are available now. Primarily I chose the Pi3 for my attempt to build a cluster because the boards have a Quad processor and 1Gb of onboard memory. Microsoft had also developed a version of Windows 10 called “Windows 10 IOT” (yes the IOT is for Internet Of Things). I purchased them on the very day they were release from RS Components online. I also looked at the power requirements and bought a multi port USB charger that gives out 2.5A per port. On top of that I bought the appropriate SD Cards and a set of short Cat 6 network cables. Over a period of a few days all the kit arrived and I duly put it all into a box – and that’s where it sat for about 6 months while I figured out what I was going to do next.

Software

My first idea was to port some software I had written for data analysis using Microsoft stack SAAS architecture – basically windows services run over WCF. The concept being that you send data to my service and it runs through a set of pre-determined analyses to reduce the time spent on exploratory data analysis. I spent some time thinking more generically however so that I could remotely configure a large set of Pi3’s into groups of Micro Services that would interact via transactional queues (MSMQ) for any software problem I wanted to solve using distributed processing techniques. This led to thinking about how to use this arrangement for a set of Micro Services aimed at analysing the Stock Market.

Pico!

I spent a lot of time looking into the kind of problems I wanted to build solutions for and hence how to setup, theoretically at least, my Pi3’s. My plan was to write all the software myself using XML as my messaging medium (or maybe Atom). I was also keeping abreast of various websites looking at what other people were up to in respect of Pi3 Clustering when I came across the Picocluster. Here was a company that were selling pre-built kits or sets of components for doing the very thing I wanted to do and had very similar solutions to how I would actually build my hardware. I looked at every picture I could find and read everything they wrote for ideas. Take a look!

Go see the Picocluster 20 Raspberry Pi3 Cluster Cube!

In reading through the Picocluster site I also discovered some pre-built Container based software development components the most interesting of which are Docker and Kubernetes.

Going through all of this new information took a week or so to sift through but having done that the next step was to order everything I needed.

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