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Work building the Pi platform began in September last year. The platform has four Lego racks, each containing 14 Model B Pi boards. The boards are powered by USB hubs, and linked by Netgear ethernet switches and various routers. An attached x86 box acts as a software repository and a control node.
The Pi cloud's virtual layer is based on LinuX Containers (LXC). LXC provide a way of running multiple Linux systems on a single Linux kernel. Each container or system has its own file system, as well as process and network space, but is not a full virtual machine. LXC was chosen due to its lightweight memory footprint being a good fit for the Pi's 512MB of RAM.
Each Pi can host three containers running Debian Wheezy, making a total of 168 containers. Students have been experimenting running light HTTP web servers, benchmarking tools and other software inside the containers.