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I have a NAS machine with an Atom motherboard that has only 4 SATA ports. The case has 4 hot swap bays, each with a 2TB disk. The machine runs CentOS and the hard disks are configured in Linux software raid 5.

Originally the system was set up to boot and run from an 8 GB SD card. This worked fine for a year and a half, when last weekend all of a sudden the SD card gave out - no more partitions found on it. I'm assuming the card broke somehow, and I'm questioning my choice for using the SD card as the boot drive.

I'd much prefer to leave the 4 hard disks for storage - using a 2TB hard disk for installing maybe 5GB of OS seems such a waste, plus it'd still be a single point of failure.

So far I have considered the following options: - taking another chance on an SD card - using a usb stick (although I don't see why it would be more robust than the SD card?) - booting from an external hard disk - booting from a CD drive in a 'live distro' sort of setup, although I'm not sure if such distros can store their permanent files (updates, config files etc) e.g. on a usb stick?

Are there other options I'm forgetting? Or should I just go with the SD card again and write this failure off as a fluke?

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It is quite possible the SD card wore out, using a USB stick would not solve the issue as any flash based storage you use will have a limited lifecycle. Either build redundancy into the setup (2 mirrored flash drives/regular backups), if that isn't an option your only alternative would be 1 of the other options you mentioned.

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