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-   -   Install slackware on a USB drive without creating an USB livecd (

Barx 06-28-2010 11:51 AM

Install slackware on a USB drive without creating an USB livecd

I'managing a file server with two 6-disk raid5 arrays (yes, 12 hdds)

the 12 hdds contains only data, the OS is running on a 20Gb EIDE disk.

Now I would like to replace the system disk with a USB pendrive.

I don't need to create an USB livecd or something similar which will be able to run from any PC, I simply want to copy the installation to the pendrive which will never be removed from the file server.

So the question is: I really need to follow the tutorials which points to and so on?? Or I can simply copy the OS on the USB stick then run lilo and it's all ok (if there's something more to do I'll do it)

The OS I want to copy is slackware 13.1

onebuck 06-28-2010 12:24 PM


You sure about the idea of using a flash for a server main drive? Where do you come up with that reasoning and how do you justify?

Why not use a 'ssd' instead?


Barx 06-28-2010 12:46 PM

The reason is very simple: once the server boot up the system disk is no longer used (except for log file, but it's a light task) and swap (another light task, the server has 4Gb RAM and I can tune swap use via the 'swappiness' parameter)

The OS simply assembles raid arrays, mount and share them via samba, and the heavy disk work is done by the two arrays and not the system drive.

It's only a file server, without apache, mail, database and everything other. So the only purpose on the system drive is to carry the OS and boot up. After that is pretty useless (and unused in fact).

I know that the boot may be slow, but it's not a problem.

A small SSD will cost at least 100$ and uses a SATA port, while a (pretty) fast 8gb pendrive costs about 10/15$ and leave SATA ports free for more hdds. This file server is the main storage of video editing studio, which needs only disk space and nothing more.

Note that now there are no more free SATA ports - 6 onboard, 4 on a PCI-ex SATA controller and 2 on a PCI SATA controller (that will be soon replaced by another 4 port PCI-ex controller) so I would like to avoid to use sata ports (in fact now the OS runs from an old an slow 20Gb EIDE drive). An USB drive is smaller, wastes less power and produces less heat ....

And last, but not the least, if the USB drive broke .. I'll put a new one. It contains nothing important.

I was thinking to buy a DOM EIDE module but a 4 Gb modules costs too much compared to the USB pendrive (about 50/60 $)

onebuck 06-28-2010 01:15 PM


It really depends on how much you value the server reliability & uptime.

If you want a fast and reliable system then a dedicated ramdisk would be the way to go. The ramdisk can be purchased dependent on size and type. You could partition to suit the needs of the system and get a fast boot along with peak performance. But the alternate would be a 'ssd'. These are not that expensive when you do the comparison of time vs reliance. Hopefully this is your system to decide what is implemented and that you don't end up regretting with a flash selection.

I would not rely on a flash on my server(s). No gain and not that reliable as an expendable device. I do value my reliabilities and uptime. There are times to save a penny and this is not one from my point of view.


Barx 06-28-2010 01:31 PM

the system is a simple file server for storage and is not used for online work.

So, in brief:

- system disk speed is not important, the speed depends on raid5 arrays
- uptime is not important
- boot up time is not important
- data reliability depends on raid5 arrays

So I SIMPLY need to know how can I boot from a USB drive without creating a livecd.

When the drive will fail, I'll put another one. Simple and straight.

The ramdrive may loose the content if the backup battery go down, and I don't have the need of fast system boot

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