I built a nas box, and I use a USB pen drive as the boot disk into Mint Linux.

I tend to only switch the NAS on when I need something from it, however I'm thinking of using it as a DNS to block ads (using pi-hole), so I'll need it on permanently - will this wear out the pen drive I'm booting from?

  • 1
    This will depend how you partition it and how frequently you do things like update it. Wear is caused by writing not reading. A full install will write things to /var and maybe other places on disk. Its the write that causes wear. – Philip Couling Apr 14 '19 at 20:00
  • Thanks @PhilipCouling I haven't done anything special on the partitioning, they are all sat on the USB drive. Is /var a separate parition? and if I move that to one of the NAS disks, I should be okay? (should I also move the swap partition?) – James B Apr 15 '19 at 8:28
  • 1
    Check you have noatime, or relatime, as a mount option. – ctrl-alt-delor Apr 15 '19 at 8:45

I don't have the required reputation to comment, but:

  • As comments have mentioned, setting the noatime mount option is a good idea to limit writes to the USB drive.
  • Keeping SWAP on one of the NAS's hard disks or SSDs (if you even need swap) will extend the life and certainly keep it from being as unbearably slow as it would be if accessed from a USB flash drive.
  • Ensuring that the USB drive is not filled to the brim will allow the flash memory controller's wear leveling to prevent burning through particular sectors much sooner than others.

All solid state memory has a finite life of write cycles and will technically wear through them eventually, but in all honesty taking care of these couple things will give you a usable lifetime on the order of decades unless you're frequently using the other space for additional storage. If it's primarily for simply reading the OS for boot and occasional updates, you shouldn't have any issues.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thanks @egon - apologies for the delay (where has 5 weeks gone?), will do some more research on what you suggest and then mark as correct when I make any changes to my setup - thanks for taking the time – James B May 20 '19 at 16:50
  • it took me 7 months to get around to this!!....I eventually did the noatime fix, and also moved /var to another partition on the raid array Thanks! – James B Nov 8 '19 at 12:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.