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Convert
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Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:07 am

Hey there gerbils!

I've been doing some offline mass imaging of systems using the SanDisk Ultra Flair 64GB USB3 drive. The reads are fine for my task, as the systems run mechanical drives, but the write speed is atrocious at around 10-15MB sustained. Since the imaging is offline, I have a rather large image that must fit on each drive and it's taking days to finish prepping all the drives. I have more of these deployments planned and would like to reduce the time it takes me to get them prepped.

Reading reviews of other drives it appears this is pretty normal for thumb drives. It seems every model I read about has similar issues or can burst higher but then go to sleep for up to a few minutes and then continue on (presumably some kind of throttling).

Anyone have any thumbs on experience with any drives to recommend something that would actually be better? I've contemplated eBay 80GB SSDs, but having them hang off the front USB port while imaging makes me a little uneasy with the staff that will be helping with this. I've also pondered an SD card in an adapter as those things seem to be perfectly capable of the read/write tasks, which is odd...
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The Egg
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:18 pm

Samsung's Bar drives should be a bit faster (say 25-50MB/sec depending on the type of data being transferred, with the 128/256 drives being faster than the 32/64), but no USB flash drive is going to be particularly good in the writes department. Is it necessary to have a completely separate flash drive for each machine? I would personally try to use a 8-12TB mechanical HDD (which is also going to be faster), and then copy everything to a second identical mechanical drive for redundancy.
 
highlandr
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:57 pm

There are some pretty small portable SSDs out there. They do all seem to have a short pigtail, but if you're going to do this with more than 1 image file it may be worth it. I guess it depends on how many times you're going to move these from imaged machine to imaged machine.

In a different vein, how many drives are you loading up at once? If you're pulling the image off a mechanical drive in your workstation, that can quickly become the bottleneck for transfers. Same goes for the USB controller - loading up 3 drives on 4 different workstations will be faster than 12 drives on 1 workstation.

I can't offer any more helpful data than that though, as every recent USB drive I've owned has been a dog on writes. I say recent because I still have one like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T61J596 and it is a MONSTER. It will write at 80+ MB sustained, and will read at 180! Too bad they're discontinued.
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DrCR
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:30 pm

https://oyendigital.com/portable-storage
Perhaps more prosumer than you're looking for though.
 
Convert
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:00 pm

The Egg wrote:
Samsung's Bar drives should be a bit faster (say 25-50MB/sec depending on the type of data being transferred, with the 128/256 drives being faster than the 32/64), but no USB flash drive is going to be particularly good in the writes department. Is it necessary to have a completely separate flash drive for each machine? I would personally try to use a 8-12TB mechanical HDD (which is also going to be faster), and then copy everything to a second identical mechanical drive for redundancy.


Not sure how I missed the Bar drive, maybe I was looking at the earlier version. It does seem to manage 25+MB in the real world.


The use scenario is there will be about 10 techs walking around to each machine with a handful of thumb drives. They will go to one machine and start the image process then walk to the next and so on, then circle back around to gather up the drives as the imaging finishes and start the process over again. Any USB 3 drive works reasonably well for this part as the internal disk on these machines are mechanical.

My pain and suffering comes with having to "burn" a 40GB ISO (which handles the deployment) to each thumb drive. We are planning on having around 50 thumb drives for this phase of the deployment. The station used for creating the bootable usb drives is a 7820x system with lots of USB3 and an M2 SSD but we are planning on setting up additional systems to do simultaneous imaging to the thumb drives. The real bottleneck in all this is the write speed of the thumb drives.

The portable SSD idea is kind of where I was headed with the used x25M hard drives from ebay and some sata to usb3 dongles. I might just go that route even though the whole setup is going to be a bit more than the Samsung Bar. Too bad those lexar drives aren't around anymore.
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bthylafh
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:38 pm

I used to do that for imaging. Eventually I had enough and set up a computer with Windows Server, Windows Deployment Services, and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Now we image by having the client computer do a PXE boot (i.e. to the network) and then stream the LiteTouch image. Saves a ton of time and USB sticks that way.

Just recently we streamlined some more by creating a relatively bare master image (Win10, antivirus, updates) and have the MDT task sequence hook into PDQ Deploy to push out the current versions of all the utilities &c that go onto a fresh computer.
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:54 pm

Convert wrote:
The Egg wrote:
Samsung's Bar drives should be a bit faster (say 25-50MB/sec depending on the type of data being transferred, with the 128/256 drives being faster than the 32/64), but no USB flash drive is going to be particularly good in the writes department. Is it necessary to have a completely separate flash drive for each machine? I would personally try to use a 8-12TB mechanical HDD (which is also going to be faster), and then copy everything to a second identical mechanical drive for redundancy.


Not sure how I missed the Bar drive, maybe I was looking at the earlier version. It does seem to manage 25+MB in the real world.


The use scenario is there will be about 10 techs walking around to each machine with a handful of thumb drives. They will go to one machine and start the image process then walk to the next and so on, then circle back around to gather up the drives as the imaging finishes and start the process over again. Any USB 3 drive works reasonably well for this part as the internal disk on these machines are mechanical.

My pain and suffering comes with having to "burn" a 40GB ISO (which handles the deployment) to each thumb drive. We are planning on having around 50 thumb drives for this phase of the deployment. The station used for creating the bootable usb drives is a 7820x system with lots of USB3 and an M2 SSD but we are planning on setting up additional systems to do simultaneous imaging to the thumb drives. The real bottleneck in all this is the write speed of the thumb drives.

The portable SSD idea is kind of where I was headed with the used x25M hard drives from ebay and some sata to usb3 dongles. I might just go that route even though the whole setup is going to be a bit more than the Samsung Bar. Too bad those lexar drives aren't around anymore.


What is this, 2003?? Pxe boot and image centrally!
 
bthylafh
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:56 pm

If any of these computers can't PXE boot for some reason, you can create a bootable USB stick that'll boot up WinPE and talk to your MDT server.
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Convert
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:48 am

Oh I'm already using MDT to create the bootable thumb drive, albeit it's a fully contained one. The customer has very strict security requirements. One of them is that while we are on-site, the entire network is physically turned off and we aren't allowed to spin up a temporary network. We can't have anything on us that even emits RF. Their IT department originally told us we'd only be allowed to use DVDs for the imaging, which would have been fine if they didn't want 40GB worth of applications and other things that couldn't be trimmed for targeted departments or users. Took two weeks of daily meetings to get them to budge but that required that each thumb drive go through a days worth of validation.

Sounds all cool and secretive, until you realize what they do. Their head IT guy is super paranoid yet has no real technical knowledge but that's a vent for another time.
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The Egg
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:01 pm

Convert wrote:
Oh I'm already using MDT to create the bootable thumb drive, albeit it's a fully contained one. The customer has very strict security requirements. One of them is that while we are on-site, the entire network is physically turned off and we aren't allowed to spin up a temporary network. We can't have anything on us that even emits RF. Their IT department originally told us we'd only be allowed to use DVDs for the imaging, which would have been fine if they didn't want 40GB worth of applications and other things that couldn't be trimmed for targeted departments or users. Took two weeks of daily meetings to get them to budge but that required that each thumb drive go through a days worth of validation.

Sounds all cool and secretive, until you realize what they do. Their head IT guy is super paranoid yet has no real technical knowledge but that's a vent for another time.

Geez. Well......I found these Sandisk Extreme Pro drives, which look to be rated at a substantially higher write speed. Maybe try a couple as a test.
 
DPete27
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:25 pm

When you have to have the best: Patriot Supersonic Rage2
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Waco
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Re: Fast USB Thumb Drive

Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:04 pm

DPete27 wrote:
When you have to have the best: Patriot Supersonic Rage2

The bigger drives in that line are far faster too - up to 300 MB/s sustained. In practice on the older "fast" drives from Patriot they actually outperform the rated specs by 10% or so on writes; I wouldn't be shocked if these did the same.
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