I’m working on a home cluster project.
It is an experiment, testing whether distributed storage can be useful for digital media professionals like photographers. These users require a great deal of fast, expandable, redundant storage, and since they need a lot of it, they are very price conscious. Can I build something useful that is fault tolerant and reliable, cheaply expandable without a hard cap (like the number of disk slots in a NAS chassis), and fast enough to be used for work?
The initial version is just using gigabit ethernet, but if the initial results are promising, I want to test with a more expensive switch that offers 10Gbe uplink connected to a desktop with a 10Gbe interface. (Even the Mac Mini comes with 10Gbe as a BTO option for only $100!)
I’m using it to learn or improve skills with
- ARM SBCs
- A/C and D/C electrical circuits
- Clustering (with Docker Swarm)
- Distributed filesystems (with LizardFS)
- Stateless machines (using Linux and booting an image over the network)
- Physical skills like rough woodworking, Dremel use
Project status and updates
The project is in pretty early stages, and (unfortunately) is only really documented on Twitter for now.
I love the novel Blindsight, by Peter Watts. It’s a fascinating and terrifying scifi examination of consciousness. One of the characters in the book is actually four characters - the “Gang of Four” - who are four personalities residing in a single body.
You should read the novel; it’s available for free online.