Building a hybrid x86–64 and ARM Kubernetes Cluster

Carlos Eduardo
10 min readJan 29, 2019

Since my last article where I built an ARM Kubernetes cluster composed of Rock64 boards, I got some new ARM SBCs with powerful RK3399 CPU's and also an Intel SBC called LattePanda Alpha that boosts a nice Intel CPU and 8GB memory.

With these boards in hand and my previous cluster in need of an update, I decided to build a new cluster with the latest Kubernetes version (1.13.1 at the time) also using latest metrics, monitoring and logging stacks.

This multi-architecture cluster demonstrates that it is possible to have a more powerful layer as the Master Nodes using AMD64 servers and smaller, cheaper and more power-saving SBCs as nodes. Some use-cases are Edge clusters or IOT applications. Also the cluster supports AMD64 nodes as well as any mix of architectures.

Overview

Hardware

For this cluster, I will use the LattePanda Alpha SBC as the Master Node and NFS Server. The LattePanda has a nice Intel Core m3–7y30 dual-core CPU (the same used on the 12-inch Macbook), 8GB of RAM and 32GB of internal eMMC storage. On this deployment, I’m using a 128GB NVMe SSD from Kingspec as the Master Node storage. It works perfectly and have an amazing performance. Also I have a 1TB SSD connected to the Master Node via USB3.0 where I provide the persistent storage using NFS.

The nodes will be two ARM64 SBCs, the FriendlyArm NanoPC-T4 and a Pine64 RockPro64. These boards have a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core CPU, 4GB of memory,16GB internal eMMC storage and 1Gbps Ethernet. for the RockPro64 I have plans to use it as a NAS and Docker container host in the future.

All three are are fantastic SBCs with all features required to run as headless servers like this cluster or as a Linux Desktop environment with Wi-Fi connectivity. The NanoPC boards also support NVMe M.2 drives although support depends on Kernel and distribution used.

On the RockPro64, using it as a NAS would be a very good option since it has a PCI-E slot where and I got the two-port SATA card. I plan on adding a four or six port card once I build…

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Carlos Eduardo

Writing everything cloud and all the tech behind it. If you like my projects and would like to support me, check my Patreon on https://www.patreon.com/carlosedp