How to Build an Open Source PaaS on ARM

For the geeks among us, I started an experiment. What about running OpenShift Origin on an ARM based device? Would that work? Is that useable? Does it make sense? Well, because I do not like sitting around and talking, I decided to act. Went for a device, well, let’s go step by step …

What device?

The primary problem was, what device to use? What is the best correlation between the price and performance? What kind of resources will be needed?

Raspberry Pi was no-go. Only 256MB of RAM and old ARMv6. But it was so cheap. Hell, make a cluster from these would be awesome. But no, this device might work in the future, but not for playing around, something bigger was needed.

PandaBoard

PandaBoard ES has 1GB of memory and dual-core ARMv7 processor. I believe this device will be enough for testing and should be enough for running that kind of applications I need to run. Panda has also WiFi, Ethernet, two USBs, two HDMIs. It is a nice device well suited for hackers to play around and experiment with stuff.

And it came today.

OpenShift

There is OpenShift Origin version for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, unfortunately that one is not yet ported to ARM. So we are stuck with Fedora (or my ongoing hacking on Ubuntu). Fedora 16 has no ARM release that version for skipped, and Fedora 16 is also the best supported operating system for running OpenShift Origin.

There is ongoing work to support OpenShift Origin officially as part of Fedora 18. The progress is at 90% at the moment which means it might not be that difficult. OK, Fedora 18 it is.

But Fedora 18 is still in development so there is no official release. However one of the friendly developers (Dan Horak) helped me to find out nightly builds of Fedora 18 for my PandaBoard. As I was experimenting today with those, I did not managed to boot them up.

“OK” I said to myself “maybe I am too lame. Let’s start with those official ones”. And so I downloaded official build of Fedora 17, put it on the SD card and boot it up. Yay, it worked.

Conclusion

So, there I am. I have PandaBoard running with Fedora 17 XFCE. It is a nice first step. Next is gonna be spinning up Fedora 18 and fetching OpenShift Origin there. Hmm, let’s see how that works. And do not worry, I will let you know

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