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Debian Server on a Thin Client with a Flash Drive

Recommend 600Mhz+ CPU, 512MB+ RAM, 2GB+ Flash. Raspberry Pi 2 would work great.

On first server (DevonIT 6020A), used internal 128MB IDE Flash for /boot, used external flash for /. Purpose-built internal flash drive is fast for loading kernal. Advantages to this hardware: cheap, built-in power supply.

On second server (Wyse WinTerm?), had trouble with drive re-ordering. Expected same behavior, 512MB flash would be /dev/sda, USB would be /dev/sdb. However, once booting from USB, it became /dev/sda, flash was /dev/sdb. Long story short, went into BIOS and disabled IDE controller. Only disadvantage…slightly slower boot time. Advantage…whole system is on a single removable flash drive that can easily be backed up, replaced, or moved to new hardware. Advantages to this hardware: almost as cheap, newer. External power supply means easier DC power feed.

Use ext2, or see ext3 tweaks at: http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/linux-on-flash.html

Uncheck GUI, selected DNS, openSSH and base utilities only. Could go back and remove unneeded packages to shrink install even more. Could possible fit in 512MB, but flash is so cheap it’s not worth it unless you are paranoid about security and truly want to limit uneccesary packages. Although that limits future usage as well (no room to play).

Use syslog server for logging

No swap, move all temp directories to ram drive

  • /run
  • /tmp
  • /var

Tweak fstab, remove user mount for USB (what’s the point?)

See http://wiki.debian.org/RunningOnFlash

 

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