USB sticks with PROPER firmware for Linux MD softRAID server boot


Who can recommend a particular model?

Here are the requirements:

  1. durable (edit: as in write endurance)
  2. fast, as in >100MB/s R/W, USB 3.x
  3. must be >/= 32 GB
  4. MUST ABSOLUTELY have an actually unique WWN / UUID / serial number
  5. MUST be bootable
  6. small form factor would be neat
  7. edit: should be affordable …so, none of those fancy Winkom SLC things

I want to mitigate device failures by running at least two in a Linux MD soft-raid mirror.

Apparently Ubuntu 20.04 fails to install when they’re not unambiguously identifiable by WWN / UUID. I’ve just wasted 3 hours because those DeLOCK 42611 2.5" enclosures have a useless (ambiguous) firmware.

Samsung’s BAR’s have proven quite reliable for full-time use:

OK, they’re reliable - but do they meet all the requirements?

I mean, those come in blister packaging - i can’t just return 'em if i don’t like 'em. (Or can i?)

Sure can: warranty isn’t dependent on packaging. Any “rules” or conditions by the seller that contradict this are void. They’ll give you hassle, as much as they possibly can hoping you’ll bow out, but cite the Law and they’ll listen.

At least, over here in “socialist” Europe. “Capitalist” America may have different rules, aimed at aiding “big bucks” to extort the populous instead of protecting them from greedy (venture) capitalists :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh my, greetings, fellow European! (I’m from DE)

I’m still not sure about breaking blister packaging - i mean, our return&refund policy protects the consumer, all right, but doesn’t it protect the seller as well? I mean, regardless, how would a professional merchant re-sell a broken blister pack, even if the item itself is as good as new? …just not fit for a particular purpose …that’s way too much overhead, labour cost of testing returned items.

…that’s why i’m asking the questions, see OP above …that’s why i’m constraining the requirements, as i did. I’d like to avoid unnecessary shipping, as well.

Edit: i’d appreciate actual experience reports - DID YOU actually run your recommendation in a “boot from Linux MD mirror” scenario?

edit 2: where you actually able to install a Linux OS onto SUCH an MD mirror, or did the Ubuntu installer nope out, right after you’ve finished your custom partition layout?

Greetings from the Northsea coast :wave:

That is not your problem. You have a sale agreement with the vendor, everything else in the supply chain is of no concern for the consumer. That’s the way the EU-wide Law* works.

*actually, the EU cannot impose Law. It issues Directives, which every participating nation is then required (i.e. mandatory) to put into Law via their usual Law-making processes. On a fair number of subjects there’s lots and lots of feet-dragging, procrastination and other delay tactics, but on consumer protection it’s pretty much implemented throughout the EU region. Mind, this also includes ‘independent’ countries who are part of the economic trade zone with the EU, like Norway and Switzerland.

As for the technical stuff: no, I don’t use RAID for my system disk, nor are they USB drives. But I don’t run mission-critical, irreplaceable hardware. If you do, replicate across multiple devices (i.e. create a private cloud, like Nextcloud or similar) to mitigate failure or other compromising events.

Yes, I’m well aware you can run Linux from an USB drive, but it’s not recommended (read as: actively discouraged!) for production systems, especially as most file systems will destroy said USB drive in months or even weeks due to their constant writing to the file tree (FS journaling). I’m also aware it was a recommend practice for a large NAS-OS (IIRC TrueNAS, could be wrong though!) but they’ve since admitted that is no longer a viable option and recommend a regular SSD instead (SATA or NVMe, your pick :stuck_out_tongue: )

So, in short: don’t bother with USB drives and create a private cloud if you run programs that cost a lot of money, working and/or when not.

Just my 2 Pfennig :wink:


LOL, i see you. Your point of view.

However, i’m trying to set up an HPE MicroServer Gen10 Plus (Intel, not Opteron) - imagine that, those are cheaper and more powerful than the usual 4-bay NASes. And it has an i350-AM4, with proper IOMMU groups. Perfect, for running a trustworthy OPNsense VM (because PFsense can’t handle virtio networking), behind your ISP’s “router box”, to which they actually have remote access. I don’t know what code they’re running on that box, and with a secondary trusted firewall, under MY control, i don’t even need to care.

Laws, or not laws - those returns aren’t sellable with a broken blister pack. So, in the best case, those end up in an auction lot, “new, open box”, worst case those go directly to an e-waste recycler.

And yes, USB sticks are certainly not 1st choice for an OS boot device.

Are you sure about that? I used a run of the mill USB stick ( Transcend 16GB JetFlash 790 USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB Stick TS16GJF790K) to install (K)Ubuntu 20.04 on my laptop and had no issues.
While one of those compact, bootable enclosures (like from iodd) would be more convenient, I just have a bunch of USB sticks for that purpose (gparted, memtest, different versions/builds of winderp, ubuntu, fedora, etc).

Have you considered USB to SATA Connectors, so you can run actual drives, rather than USB thumb sticks?

Or, is this what you actually mean all along?

That’s what i’m currently running. Ubuntu failed to install on those, and i had to put the SSDs on internal SATA. Once installed, it seems to boot and run just fine in those USB enclosures.

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Nice, I like the style.

Personally, I prefer a disposable O/S drive, and redundant data, with the USB / SD card just running normal ext2/3/4/whatever, and the data being redundant +backing up

I used to keep regular images of the OS drives, but never needed the config files long enough to make it worth it

But back to the question; Linux MD raid I haven’t done over USB, but I have some running ZFS on a couple of JMicron USB docks, that are not recommended, they spin down and drop drives from arrays (Probably fixable with smarts, but I didn’t look too close) another pair run fine on Icy dock enclosures.
The last pair on USB is a pair of Toshiba Canviam drives; not good, but easy on the energy usage