When Pi's Go Bad

When Pi's Go Bad

kubernetes plus raspberrypi

Even Pi’s can go bad. Over a year ago I started writing about Kubernetes on Raspberry Pi’s. Not a new thing. People have been doing this before and after me. I tried Microk8s to my new favorite k3s. This project was a great side that taught me a lot about Kubernetes. I cannot tell you how many times I had to flash new memory card. Or reinstall Kubernetes.

Outside the time, the project cost me a few hundred dollars. But I admit, I did go overboard with it. Some were good investments others were not. Adding power over ethernet hat’s was a bad idea as I had a hell of a time keeping these cool. The case that fit’s 4 Pi’s with a 120mm fan, good buy.

For the average hobbyist this little experiment could be as cheap as $60 or so to do. And recommend this project for any developer learning more about the cloud. But temper your expectations on what these can and cannot do. So as I have been prepping for taking the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam. This little cluster made for a great study lab. I have it and needing to test my skills around kubectl.

These are not production grade. They are slow even with 4 or 8 GB of RAM. And what I learned is that the microSD cards burn out and cause a lot of headaches. Sure, I could have done a PXE boot of the devices. But the little lab started taking away time around my CKA study time and had me focusing on hardware issues. As I mentioned before power over ethernet hat where a bad buy. Even with fans keeping the Pi’s cool was a struggle.

PoE hats also had the Pi’s losing power and requiring full restart’s of the OS. This was very frustrating. Where hardware issues where consuming more of my study time. Then after getting through backing up the etcd database in my studying, it happened. I lost a whole board. This was the last straw for me. The experiment of building a Kubernetes cluster on Raspberry Pi’s was great. But not for the use studying was putting on them. I had to break down and put Microk8s on my laptop to continue my studying.

For now this Pi project is now tabled. It’s a great project but not for prepping for the CKA. I will revisit these again. This summer I want to build a self sustaining k8s cluster that can run off of solar power. Crazy I know but it’s what hobbyist do. Meanwhile it’s back to studying for the CKA.