booting from usb pen drive

Simon Hogg seth at
Sun Nov 23 16:49:01 EST 2003

> > > This could be a very elegant solution for booting diskless nodes, since
> > > virtually every mobo made today has USB interfaces on it, and would save
> > > the hassle of putting CDROM or Floppy drives out there.
> >
> > I'm not sure I'd be a fan of it.  On one hand, you could just have one
> > usb pen drive that you use to boot all the nodes.  Nice in theory, but I
> > really don't want to have to touch a slave node just to reboot it.
>I was thinking of a USB drive on each and every diskless node, not moving
>the one drive around.
> > Other than that, you'd have a nice usb key sticking out of either the
> > front or rear of all your machines like a sore thumb, and would be quite
> > easy to accidently brush against and break/pull-out/snap-off in your usb
> > port.
>Only if you packaged it that way... Lots of mobos have USB ports that come
>out to a header and they expect you to put a little adapter dohickey (which
>can cost as much as the USB drive) to create the USB jack on the front
>panel.  Leave the USB drive inside the case.
>In my specific case, I'm looking for a cheap, off the shelf diskless boot
>solution that is compatible with having only wireless access to the node. My
>application is almost embarassingly parallel (by deliberate design) and the
>goal is to show that "useful work" can be done with power being the only
>physical connection to each node.  So far, the CF/IDE adapter looks like a

Forgive my intrusion, but I don't see why this approach is so very 
different from having a disk (sure, it's a solid state disk, but still, 
it's kind of a disk) and for all the messing with trying to install a usb 
pen drive in each node, why not just stick a CD-ROM in it to boot from 
(apart from size)? At least that's pretty much guaranteed to be read-only.

But on a related note (and I *think* I have seen it on this list before) 
how about the "WEBasIDE" little gubbins which provides TCP/IP over IDE.  It 
even comes in a 2.5" disk form factor.

URL is at for 
one of them, not sure if there are other developers out there, and I have 
no idea of cost.


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