Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

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Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

Postby pccobbler » 2020-01-12 19:44

I currently run Linux via USB 3.0 on Intel hardware. All Intel and Crucial consumer SSDs I have tested run Linux fine. However, I have an Intel 730 (half enterprise - half consumer) that complains about no bootable drive being present when I try to boot Linux after installing it. I suspect that enterprise SSDs -- for example, Intel 35xx, 36xx, and 37xx -- and half-breeds -- for example, Intel 710 and 730 -- were not designed for booting via USB and will therefore not work for this purpose. And then there's the problem with Intel enterprise SSDs that they prefer 12v power, which is not supplied in laptops or 2.5" external enclosures. Has anyone here successfully installed and booted Linux via USB on any enterprise SSD? If so, please give the model number of the SSD.
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Re: Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

Postby p.H » 2020-01-13 12:51

pccobbler wrote:I have an Intel 730 (half enterprise - half consumer) that complains about no bootable drive being present when I try to boot Linux after installing it

Nonsense. A drive does not complain about booting stuff. The computer firmware does.

pccobbler wrote:I suspect that enterprise SSDs -- for example, Intel 35xx, 36xx, and 37xx -- and half-breeds -- for example, Intel 710 and 730 -- were not designed for booting via USB and will therefore not work for this purpose

Nonsense again. A drive is not designed for booting. It is designed to store data into sectors. What the host system does with these data is irrelevant to the drive.

However a computer firmware may have specific non-standard requirements or limitations about the layout in the boot drive. For instance it is common that it requires that a partition entry in the MBR has the boot flag set to boot in BIOS/legacy mode, or require a GPT partition table to boot in EFI mode.
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Re: Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

Postby pccobbler » 2020-01-14 17:25

Then explain why Intel 530, Crucial M4, Samsung 830, and other consumer SSDs work fine, yet an Intel 730, a half-enterprise / half-consumer drive, is not recognized after installation, with all of these SSDs installed in the same model of external enclosure (Vantec NST-266S3-BK) and running via the same PC (an HP laptop). And by the way, the 730 worked perfectly with Windows mounted internally via SATA. It might be a power problem, as enterprise SSDs generally use 12v instead of the usual 5v, which laptops and external drives do not supply. Or it might be that enterprise SSDs use more power than consumer SSDs, so much so that USB 3.0, let alone USB 2.0, cannot supply enough power during writes. But contrary to your opinion, it is a problem.
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Re: Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

Postby pylkko » 2020-01-14 20:48

Just to be clear, is the drive a SSTA (or other such) drive that you are using via a SATA-to-USB enclosure/cable?

If you suspect a power issue (SSD's consume way less than disks but not saying it is not possible), then could you not power the disk via a powered hub or some other way and use only the USB for the data transfer? This would rule out one of your suspicions.
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Re: Use enterprise SSDs to run Linux via USB

Postby pccobbler » 2020-01-16 17:59

@ p.H

USB 3.0 supplies 0.9 A, while USB 2.0 supplies 0.5 A. This assumes a single cable and not the y-type that adds a USB 2.0 resulting in more power, assuming the external enclosure can accommodate it, which is not always the case.

The formula for computing watts is: I x V = W. For 0.9 A, W = 4.5.

The Intel 730 480 GB SSD can use as much as 5.5 W, which is more than USB 3.0 can handle. A y-cable that adds USB 3.0 and 2.0 power together would supply as much as 7 W, once again assuming the hardware can handle it.
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en ... m-mlc.html

The 730 is unique in one respect, as it can run with 5 V only or with both 5 V and 12 V, though it really prefers the latter -- this was noted in reviews at the time and on Intel Ark -- which is why it was only recommended for desktops. It also generates more heat than the usual consumer SSD.

Therefore the typical external USB enclosure for 2.5" drives, not to mention a laptop, could not function with an Intel 730 480 GB SSD.



@ pylkko

You've found the loophole. A powered USB external enclosure should supply enough power. Even better would be an enclosure for a 3.5" drive which would supply 12 V power. All that said, I tried a 3.5" powered enclosure -- but the 730 still would not boot Linux.
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