Linux Admin

Monday, August 03, 2015

Home cluster setup

Recently as a hobby project I was looking for playing with some recently popular tools like mesos, kubernetes, docker-swarm and many other related. After playing around some tests clusters on Digital Ocean and AWS and spending dozens of dollars each month, I realized that I need some constantly running boxes to see how do these brand new tools behave in long term.

IMAG1480After doing some research to find the cheapest available cloud provider, I found the cheapest cloud option is AWS Spot Instances which could be shut down at any time or I should buy my own bare boxes. I wrote a small script to find the cheapest possible AWS Spot instance. As of today US-WEST-2 c3.large spot instances have reasonable prices (less than 12$/month) to play with and have pretty clean records in last months. So if I'd chose a little higher price than the current bid, I'll possibly be happy for months. But somehow I'm excited with the idea of having my own cluster running on metal.

And I started searching for cheap second hand desktop computers. Thanks to some friends with spare computers, old laptops at home and adverts.ie, I got 6 boxes only spending 45Eur in total.

I also had a chance to cycle around Dublin to collect parts :) And guys from adverts were generous to me, they gave me a spare disk and desktop for free, this was really surprising to me. And overall this adventure ended up being cheaper even than the cheapest cloud option I have.  I enjoyed playing with some hardware as I do in my college days. I gather up different parts to build computers and it was really fun :)

But I'm still curious if this is really cheaper than cloud options in long term, I'll buy a watt-o-meter to measure the monthly electricity bill I pay for running these boxes.

There is a down side in this setup that I have to maintain all those nodes and keep them running, as much as you can and as a result of having nodes running without a stable wireless network and power cords my setup gives me implicit chaos-monkey for free. But for real, that helped me a lot with fixing things properly.