You have seen the PicoCluster, a personal data center with anywhere from 3-100 nodes utilizing the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3. You looked at the 5-Node PicoCluster with its price tag of $599 and thought to yourself, "What a great concept! But I bet I could build it for much less."
Let's analyze that thought for a minute. Assuming you can see the potential for a PicoCluster in your workplace, school, or home, I can think of 3 major flaws with your line of thinking.
If you are like me, you always have more things to do than you have time for. And while building a Raspberry Pi cluster sounds like a simple dream project, it could quickly turn into a nightmare. Especially if you have plans to use it in the near future. The PicoCluster is ready to go right out of the box. Hook up your keyboard, mouse, and monitor and turn it on.
To build your own PicoCluster, you will need to figure out how to connect the Raspberry Pi's together so they can talk to each other, and find a way to power the entire unit. You'll also need to design and build a case to hold all of your components in a compact way so it is functional. We have spent hundreds of hours perfecting our case and components to provide a "plug and play" experience.
Will it really be cheaper to reinvent the PicoCluster? Assume you are a lot smarter than we are and you can find a solution to the problems listed above in around 20 hours. It doesn't have to look perfect, be portable, or function at the same level as the PicoCluster since you will be the only one using it. Of course, you won't have the same functionality, either. So, how much money did you save?
Let's add things up. Take the cost of 5 Raspberry Pi's. Add in your cost for 5 SD cards, the components to link them together, power them, and encase them. Now let's talk about your time. Figure out how much you make per hour and times that by 20 (or more). Don't forget to include what you should or could have done in that 20 hours. Now your cheap PicoCluster knock-off isn't looking very cost-effective.
This is the real power of the PicoCluster. Purchasing a PicoCluster also gets you the management software that you would have to develop yourself if you built your own. (We are adding to the time and money issues we've already discussed.) We also have a training center with open source educational materials that comes FREE with every PicoCluster. And don't forget the PicoCluster App Store. While we may one day allow the general public paid access to our educational materials and apps, for now you are out of luck.
The PicoCluster is starting to sound like a real bargain! Visit our website and see how the PicoCluster can take you to the next level of parallel and distributive computing at home, work, or school. You can purchase a kit if you still want the thrill of building a PicoCluster or purchase a PicoCluster ready to go.