New project: Mini Cluster in a Box v2

Patrick

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For those that have seen previous versions of the mini-cluster-in-a-box (see here), the latest attempt is upping the ante slightly.

Design goals
  • 3x Processing Nodes (faster than the Raspberry Pi)
  • Networking
  • Storage
  • Minimal noise
  • Single box
  • SoHo/ SMB (e.g. non rackmount) form factor
  • Sub 150w power consumption (stretch goal of sub 120w)

The current plan is to put the ASrock Avoton platform in the chassis as the storage platform, then have the two Supermicro C2750 nodes also used for processing and networking. Cost is, of course, going to be significantly higher than the previous limit of $600

Overall, should be a fun project. I am currently unsure exactly as to how I will get all of this working, but am fairly excited to give it a try!

Parts List
2x Supermicro A1SAi-2750F (1x 32GB of RAM, 1x 12GB of RAM)
1x ASRock C2750D4I (16GB RAM)
1x BitFenix Prodigy
2x PicoPSU 150XT
1x PicoPSU 90
3x 72w Power Adapters (low cost)
1x NetGear GS105 5-port switch
1x TP-LINK TL-SG1008D
1x ICY DOCK MB996SP-6SB 6-in-1 hot swap enclosure
1x Samsung 840 Pro 512GB
1x OCZ Vertex 4 512GB
1x Crucial M500 480GB
 

Mike

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How about those new Haswell NUCs? They have the exact same chip as the Apple Air and somewhat target the diy world.
 

PigLover

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Get a small 8 or 12 port VLAN aware switch and you've got everything there you need to run the full Openstack Havana stack. Use the ASRock as a storage node, set up one of the SM nodes as combined network/compute and the other two SMs as pure compute. Maybe even blow off the switch and just get a 4-port card for the node you use for network, making it combined switch and vRouter.

Step-by-step install guide here: OpenStack Installation Guide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and FedoraÂ*-Â*OpenStack Installation Guide for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Fedora Â*-Â*havana

Load up ZoL on the hstorage node and present it as a generic NFS storage model.

Should turn out a lot more useful than your first cluster, even if it doesn't look as cool when you are done.
 
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Patrick

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I like the Haswell NUCs in general but want to use standard drives and etc.

PL - I certainly have been thinking about OpenStack with this. The switch idea was certainly something I was looking at both in terms of what do I want in a physical box and what do I want to run in software. Since it is really a proof of concept may only use an inexpensive switch again for IPMI.
 

Patrick

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dba stopped by today and saw this in progress. After he left:



Very cool setup!

Trending towards the lower end of the power consumption target.
 

Patrick

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Very nice little server. Everyone: Guess how many cores and SATA ports in that tiny little chassis! You'll probably have to wait for the main site article to find out.
Well... and depends on if I update it tomorrow. :)
 

pgh5278

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Good Morning Patrick intriguing,,,,will this lead into a competition build,, possibly points allocated on basis of case volumes, power consumption all smaller is better, then computational power, storage volume, data bandwidth, bigger is better, and to keep costs home xx % dollar value of components come from the closet, storage bins, under the desk etc...and of course all parts easily commercially available...????

PS, just built my son a new gaming PC based on ASUS Impact Mini ITX in that Bitfenix case, the case is very nice to work with..

Cheers Peter
 

Patrick

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I do not think this is going to be a competition build but you never know. Certainly intriguing. Would love to see what others come up with. I have been building these more as a proof of concept. Here's a teaser of what's inside:



At this point it is a proper cluster. Much more useful than the first version. Rugged enough to tote around (with handles as dba pointed out). Just about at the point it could almost be a viable mini-OpenStack box in 1A at 120v.

Also of note: the Netgear 5-port switch fits nicely into a 3.5" drive tray.
 

PigLover

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Hmmm. So I know you've reviewed 5in3 and 3in2 drive bay racks. Is that a new twist on 5in1? Very creative!

Also - are those actual 2" standoffs holding the MBs apart or did you screw together a bunch of short MB standoffs to do that? In other words - is it legit or is it ghetto? (note that ghetto is NOT a dis...).
 

Patrick

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mackle

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Very interesting POC, I like the pico-psu route.

If you created two very short extension cords for the two switch AC transformers you should be able to place all 6 cords (incl. the projected fourth node) into one unit:

Eg: Amazon.com: Belkin SurgeMaster 6 Outlet Wall-Mount Surge Protector: Electronics or potentially one of the older/ungrounded compact strips as none of those plugs have a ground on them.

I'd personally avoid consolidating all the pico's down to one, as if it fails they all go. But you could daisy chain one off each other using each's molex connector and Molex -> P4 adapters (For the picos like the 150's, whose DC jack is connected to a P4 adapter). Or have two of the three off the first with a molex Y splitter and the P4 adapters.

That would free up space for a Y-adapter or open-UPS to improve redundancy somewhat (and give you battery back up). Add a motherboard shield with a enough C13 sockets for your design needs and some ethernet keystones and it'd look well smart.

ADD: If you daisy chained the picos and created a custom mobo shield, you could feasibly move the single AC-DC pack out of the case with a single jack, giving even more interior space.

ADD#2: Assuming the two switches use 5v DC from their transformers you could also wire two molex to 5v plugs and reduce those transformers
 
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PigLover

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Had a mental picture last night of something like your cluster but built without a case at all. Maybe a clear Lexan frame holding things together. A real "OpenStack". :)
 

cactus

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That turned out very nice. Are connections out just network cables running into the case through IO plate area?
 

Patrick

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That turned out very nice. Are connections out just network cables running into the case through IO plate area?
Actually running through the power supply hole right now. Case is easy to work on but tight fit everywhere.

nitrobass24 - Thanks! I was thinking you might get a kick out of this. Was even thinking of adding a NUC or BRIX box in there since I see much room in there.

I like the idea, but am fairly certain I would set something on fire if I tried wiring it up that way. dba got to see the box in progress this weekend and my lack of wiring competency along with it.
 

SantaSCSI

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I do not think this is going to be a competition build but you never know. Certainly intriguing. Would love to see what others come up with.
Damn you Patrick, just when I was hesitant of building mine, you release this article ;).