Build an M3 Anvil! Cluster

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 Alteeve Wiki :: How To :: Build an M3 Anvil! Cluster

First off, what is an Anvil!? In short, it is a "self-maintaining 'cluster of clusters'". It's goal is to keep servers (virtual machines) running, without human intervention, even under multiple failure conditions.

Think about ship-board computer systems, remote research facilities, factories without dedicated IT staff, un-staffed branch offices and so forth.

In these cases, the Anvil! system will predict component failure and mitigate. It will adapt to changing threat conditions, like cooling or power loss, including automatic recovery from full power loss. It is designed around the understanding that a fault condition may not be repaired for weeks or months, and can do automated risk analysis and mitigation.

That's an Anvil! cluster!

Components

The minimum configuration needed to host servers on an Anvil! is this;

Simplest Anvil! system
Management Layer
Striker Dashboard 1 Striker Dashboard 2
Sub-Clusters
Node-Block 1
Sub-node 1 Sub-node 2
Foundation Pack 1
Ethernet Switch 1 Ethernet Switch 2
Switched PDU 1 Switched PDU 2
UPS 1 UPS 2

With this configuration, you can host as many servers as you would like, limited only by the resources of Node Pair 1 (itself made of a pair of physical nodes with your choice of processing, RAM and storage resources).

Scaling

This is a significant investment to get started, but you will soon find that scaling is easy!

Management Layer; Striker Dashboards

The management layer, the Striker dashboards, have no hard limit on how many Node Blocks they can manage. All node-blocks record their data to the Strikers (to offload processing and storage loads). There is a practical limit to how many node blocks can use the Strikers, but this can be accounted for in the hardware selected for the dashboards.

Node Blocks

An Anvil! cluster uses one or more node blocks, pairs of matched physical nodes configured as a single logical unit. The power of a given node block is set by you and based on the loads you expect to place on it.

There is no hard limit on how many node blocks exist in an Anvil! cluster. Your servers will be deployed across the node blocks and, when you want to add more servers than you currently have resource for, you simple add another node block.

Foundation Packs

A foundation pack is the power and ethernet layer that feeds into one or more node blocks. At it's most basic, it consists of three pairs of equipment;

  • Two stacked (or VLT-domain'ed) ethernet switches.
  • Two switched PDUs (network-switched power bars
  • Two UPSes.

Each UPS feeds one PDU, forming two separate "power rails". Ethernet switches and all sub-nodes are equipped with redundant PSUs, with one PSU fed by either power rail.

In this way, any component in the foundation pack can fault, and all equipment will continue to have power and ethernet resources available. How many Anvil! node-pairs can be run on a given foundation pack is limited only by the sizing of the selected foundation pack equipment.

Configuration

 

Any questions, feedback, advice, complaints or meanderings are welcome.
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