Brand New: The SEAL Pi Cloud Prototype

by Thomas Tikwinski

SEAL Systems has been working on solutions for the cloud for some time now. Especially with a security-relevant and highly available service like corporate output management, aspects like data privacy, fault tolerance, scalability, and updatability play an important role. We especially have to find out how our software behaves in exceptional situations:

 

  • Spontaneous failure of a cloud node
  • Termination of network connections
  • OS and software upgrades to cloud nodes
  • Updates to underlying cloud software stacks

In our experience, such cases can be tested neither on virtual machines nor in large cloud data centers under realistic conditions.

 

New Cloud Testbed

We have therefore decided to establish our own cloud testbed that can also serve as a mobile demonstrator for our solutions; a data center you can pack up and take with you. The goal was to get as close as possible to a realistic operations scenario with limited resources, meaning:

  • Operating the application in two or more data centers (from different providers, if applicable)
  • Deployment of the components as Docker containers
  • Orchestration and controlling of the application using  Docker SwarmKubernetes or Nomad
  • Operational monitoring and connection to a company network

 

The Basis: Raspberry Pi 3B

For a technical base we have decided on a Raspberry Pi 3B. For a moderate price, it offers us not only good performance. It’s also very widely used, so we have a vast community we can fall back on. A design-compatible, Intel-based UP-Board is used for the more power-hungry components. ARM/Intel Multiarch Docker containers guarantee platform independence. Seven nodes are used to form each data center, and we have built two of these data centers and connected them over Edge Gateways. A chic acrylic glass case gives it just the right “data center” look.

 

The Facts:

  • Overall system: 56 core, 26GB RAM, 288GB SD
  • 10x Raspberry Pi 3B, quad-core ARM CPU 1GB RAM, 16GB SD
  • 4x UP quad-core Intel CPU 4GB RAM, 32GB SD
  • 2x Gigabit-Ethernet cluster network
  • 2x Edge-Gateway connection to external network
  • 2x 60W Anker USB adapter
  • Case made of 3mm acrylic produced with laser cutter; can be disassembled
  • Rack cards can be removed individually

 

Further Information:

We have made the building plans and instructions for our mini data center available as open-source content on GitHub.

Follow us on Twitter at @SealSystemsAG and #PiCloud to follow the project live!

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