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Oracle's New Supercomputer Has 1,060 Raspberry Pis

Raspberry Pi Supercomputer. (Image credit: ServeTheHome)

One Raspberry Pi can make a nice web server, but what happens if you put more than 1,000 of them together? At Oracle's OpenWorld convention on Monday, the company showed off a Raspberry Pi Supercomputer that combines 1,060 Raspberry Pis into one powerful cluster. 

According to ServeTheHome, which first reported the story, the supercomputer features scores of racks with 21 Raspberry Pi 3 B+ boards each. To make everything run well together, the system runs on Oracle Autonomous Linux. 

ServeTheHome asked Oracle why it chose to create a cluster of Raspberry Pis instead of using a virtualized Arm server and one company rep said simply that "...a big cluster is cool."

Raspberry Pi Supercomputer. (Image credit: ServeTheHome)

Oracle engineers connected the Raspberry Pis to a series of switches (Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 48s) and uplinked them with SFP+ 10GbE transceivers. The Raspberry Pis receive their power from a series of USB power supplies.

Every unit connects to a single rebranded Supermicro 1U Xeon server, which functions as a central storage server for the whole supercomputer. The Oracle team also created custom, 3D printed brackets to help support all the Pis and connecting components.

Raspberry Pi clusters aren't practical when it comes to performance, but the novelty of supercomputer projects often make the learning experience worthwhile. We don't expect this product to go commercial, but it is a really neat example of just how much you can do with a $35 computer.

  • rfeague
    If you're near San Francisco, Oracle has a free "Discover" pass so you can check this out in person. https://www.oracle.com/code-one/register.html
    Reply
  • Stokestack
    And not one mention of its performance...
    Reply
  • bit_user
    I still don't get the point of it. Was it used to demonstrate some software of theirs? Maybe this "Autonomous Linux"?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Stokestack said:
    And not one mention of its performance...
    Yeah, you'd think 4240 ARM Cortex-A53 cores should manage some impressive numbers on some kind of distributed computing benchmark.

    However, I expect such a machine is only good for research & testing of distributed computing software. Recent analysis has shown that even the much-improved Pi v4 is not a cost-effective solution for computing at scale:

    https://www.servethehome.com/aoa-analysis-marvell-thunderx2-equals-190-raspberry-pi-4/
    Reply