When I was 12, I was given a Raspberry Pi. For the first couple of days, it was really fun. After I had browsed the web for a while and played a bit of Minecraft, it sat in it’s box for a few months. I really had no idea what to do with it. That was until I discovered that I could build a website with it.
I have a bit of a complex set up with all my sites and services, mainly due to using a multitude of different tools and languages to deploy different things. Currently, I have one main OVH server which most of my stuff is hosted on, including different database engines, Node.js and PHP apps.
Although the PiGlow visualisation of CPU usage was pretty, we reckoned we could go a couple of steps further and integrate a much more complete tangible solution – a hardware-driven load monitor dashboard.
Made of cardboard.
This was to be driven by two high torque servos (Ben had them lying around) which would rotate according to whichever performance indicator we chose. Servos are not, of course, very good pointers so with a trusty craft knife to the fore we re-purposed some Pi packaging into a cardboard user interface.
In my last post I described how I set up a 5-strong Raspberry Pi Docker swarm. It wasn’t long before I realised I wanted some ambient way to see how they were performing which a) didn’t involve staring at a screen and b) would wind up the cat.
Luckily my friend Ben was round and he’s quite into tangible stuff so after rummaging in a few dusty boxes for inspiration we found a PiGlow and wondered if that would do the trick.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine reminded me about Docker. Docker is a containerisation platform which allows you to deploy different systems very quickly and efficiently on the same host machine. Not only that, you can put several Docker hosts together in order to create a swarm. It’s like VMs, but cooler.