booting from usb (desktop)

Forum about Parallella boot process, linux kernel, distros, SD-cards, etc.

booting from usb (desktop)

Postby fmma » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:44 pm

Dear Parallela community,

I have read that booting and using a USB stick is faster and more reliable than using the microSD cards (raspberry forum). I have no data or experience which I could use as a reference.
I'm wondering if this is also possible with an parallela and if so where I can find the necessary information. I'm also wondering if there are issues running the os from a SD card.

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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:08 pm

Re: booting from usb (desktop)

Postby sebraa » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:31 pm


SD cards are specified to use a FAT file system, and some controllers do heavy optimizations based on that. If you run an OS from an SD card, you use a different file system with completely different access patterns. Some cards react with bad performance, others simply don't care either way. Also, if you unexpectedly power off an SD card while writing, some cards behave really badly (i.e. silently corrupting vital data, up to losing the whole contents). Again, other cards don't really mind resets.

That being said, the same holds true for USB flash drives. Apart from the host interface, there is really no difference, and you don't know what brand of flash or controller a specific device uses and how reliable it is. Even big producers mix wildly, sometimes even within the same product line. Those devices should never be considered "reliable". If you notice corruption, replace the device and keep backups.

This applies to the Raspberry Pi as well.
I am not aware of anyone using a USB flash drive to boot the Parallella. We use SD cards and it works.

Best Regards,
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Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:54 pm

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