On-Prem Development Kubernetes Cluster Options

  • Node provisioning testing
  • Node life cycle management (adding, removing, and maintenance)
  • Out-of-cluster storage
  • Network overlay/underlay testing
  • Load balancing testing

Virtual Machines

Virtual machines might be fine in a work environment with OpenStack or VMware but will probably be harder to find resources if you are doing development at home. They also might make testing certain types of development harder depending on what hypervisor you’re using.

Development Hardware

Here’s where things get tricky. Hardware requires more commitment because you need to order it, maintain it, and pay for running it (power). But this is also where things get fun. Hardware costs more up front and what you order is dependent on your budget and development goals. Let’s look at some options.

Raspberry Pi

This is an obvious choice. In fact it even had a whole blog series on the Kubernetes blog to explain how to do it.

  • ARM architecture limits application availability
  • Slow CPU
  • Limited RAM (1 GB)

Beyond the Raspberry Pi

Of course the Raspberry Pi isn’t the only single board computer worthy of a home cluster. Lots of alternatives have shown up in the past year and some of them are very capable. Some benefits of these alternatives are.

  • x86 architecture
  • More RAM
Sub-atomic cluster
  • Intel Stick PCs: These come in a lot of different variations but essentially are a small stick powered via USB and with an HDMI port. If you’re lucky some have Ethernet ports which makes clustering them a lot easier.
  • UP boards are another alternative. They are typically a little faster than the Minnowboards and the new UP boards have 8GB RAM options. I couldn’t find an example cluster with UP boards but if you have one please let me know.

Desktop Class Hardware

  • Upgradable hardware: add RAM, GPU, CPU as needed.
  • Buy only what you need. Don’t need WiFi or Bluetooth? Don’t pay for them. Want a better GPU, add it when you need it.
  • Closer to an on-prem hardware production cluster
  • Price
  • Power requirements
  • Noise
DIY nono ITX build



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