1st prototype
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Getting all design fluffy …


First of all, being it a bit late, we wish you the very best for the coming year! May all your dreams come true in 2014!

For us at BigBoards, our dreams started in 2013. Our ideas were sparking for a long time. We wanted to find a solution to our own itches while we were developing big data solutions: waiting for jobs to finish, endlessly reconfiguring our clusters, learning new technologies each day, etc.

Last year we turned these ideas into a prototype design on the drawing table, sourced the components from the internet and used 3D printing to build our first real life prototype. You have probably seen it on pictures already.

We baptized our prototype: Hex.


A Hex contains

  • 5 data nodes + 1 management node

  • Integrated gigabit ethernet switch

  • Integrated power distribution

and each node has

  • Quad core 1.0 Ghz ARM A9 CPU

  • 2Gb DDR3 RAM

  • Gigabit Ethernet

  • 1Tb, 2.5” harddisk for the data nodes

At the end of 2013 we continued to iterate on this initial design. The included images show you the best of our product visions. So we ask you, which design do you prefer and why?

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.58.19

IMG_0249However, during one of the last design iterations, Daan and Alexis got carried away for a moment and devised a concept for a modular micro datacenter. What do you think of it? Are you eager to have such a stacked tower on your desk to host e.g. your private development street?

We know we are! We might even get to building that some day…  😉

Speaking of startups, let’s turn our attention to what the beginning of 2014 is going to bring.

First of all, we will be incorporating soon! Yes, we need that if we are going to sell some of those prototypes. So, we are gearing up for that milestone.

We are working hard to get the final issues tackled on the hardware. The network and a proper power supply prove to be more difficult to source than anticipated. The auto-deployment to the cluster using our ROM kitchen is a fact and a first iteration of a Hadoop droplet is rolling down the drain onto the hex. To top it all of, we are building the management console control it all. All of this together will be our MVP, minimum viable prototype 😉

Stay tuned for it’s launch date if you want one!  BBHQ 1st meeting 2014

In the mean time, we have set up shop in Daan’s : that’s our BigBoards HQ … our hackerspace, if you want. You are always welcome as we are always open for a discussion, some hacking and a lot of challenging. And a drink of course!

We might even have some equipment laying around to help you with on some of your projects.

You can also help us!

Are you a big data developer? Then tell us what is slowing you down. What would help you to be more productive? A Hex? Some specific feature on our Hex? Tell us!

Or are you a graphic designer, what would your ideal management console look like?

Anything else? Certainly tell us, because your opinion is invaluable feedback!

You can help our dream of 2014 become reality. Forward this newsletter to all your acquaintances that might be interested. It will point them to our website, http://bigboards.io where they can subscribe to our mailing list too.


Thank you for reading!

Now, get out there and have a BIG 2014!!!

The BigBoards Team

Daan, Alexis, Boris, Sven and Wim

Wim Van Leuven
Wim Van Leuven
Big Data Enthusiast, Technology Leader, Hands-on I am passionate about software and solutions. Organizer of BigData.be, the Belgian community on big data and NoSQL. Co-founder of BigBoards.io.


  1. Bart Hanssens says:

    Interesting project.

    Just wondering (I don’t have a real project yet) if the Hex will have hardware support for AES ? Intel provides an optimized Hadoop solution for Xeon CPUs with AES-NI (http://hadoop.intel.com/pdfs/IntelEncryptionforHadoopSolutionBrief.pdf), and AFAIK the ARM Cortex A9 has no built-in support for AES, so I was wondering if the Hex will feature a crypto accelerator ?

    Probably it’s only useful for a few customers, but it would be interesting nevertheless.

  2. Wim Van Leuven says:

    Hey Bart,

    Thank you for your interest in BigBoards! The platform we are using is based on Freescale’s I.MX6 processor and it appears these things come with a crypto accelerator. They call it CAAM and you can enable it via the Linux kernel. No idea on performance though, nor how it compares to Intel’s solutions, nor how it should be used from within Hadoop.


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