07 Dec 2020 , tagged: raspberrypi
Migrating Raspberry Pi From Sd Card to Usb
I’ve been running my Kubernetes cluster on Raspberry Pis for about a year now. Overall the cluster is stable and needs little attention and by now many useful and important services are now running on it. With more reliance on these services I need to ensure that the cluster doesn’t fail from preventable errors. One of the common failure modes for Raspberry Pis are sdcards. They are not very fast, they are of limited size, and worst, they tend to fail.
In order to avoid this I’ve been researching how to attach reliable mass storage and how to boot from them. Eventually I settled on Geekworm’s X857 expansion board for the Raspberry Pi 4b and the X850 for the 3b models. To go with these I bought msata drives, nothing crazy because the workloads don’t require lots of storage. Installation is straightforward and for the first one I simply mounted the msata drive into the system running of the sdcard. That worked, but what I really want is the entire system to run off the SSD instead of the card. It took a little research on how to do this and here are the steps I’ve take to successfully boot my PI 4b from msata without an sdcard.
I’ve poked around a little and found this thread on how to move the filesystem to USB drive on the raspberrypi forums very helpful. This article on how to boot the Pi 4 from a USB SSD was also very useful.
But what all guides relied on sdcard copier which is a GUI app was not an option on my headless machine. So I set out to copy the system myself and that requires a few things:
- creating partitions and filesystems
- copy filesystems
- update boot configuration in new filesystem
- reboot without sdcard
Step by Step
Creating Partitions and Filesystems
The ssd is registered as
lsblk to identify and check if it’s properly running:
$ sudo lsblk NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT sda 8:0 0 111.8G 0 disk
I followed the partition layout of the sdcard (which is
/dev/mmcblk0). One small boot partition and one for the
$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/mmcblk0 Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 14.9 GiB, 15931539456 bytes, 31116288 sectors Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x5e3da3da Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/mmcblk0p1 8192 532479 524288 256M c W95 FAT32 (LBA) /dev/mmcblk0p2 532480 31116287 30583808 14.6G 83 Linux
I created a new dos type partition table, and created a boot partition of type fat32, marked it as bootable, a system
partition, and I did add a separate partition for
/var/ and for
/data. The final partition table looks like this:
$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda Disk /dev/sda: 111.8 GiB, 120034123776 bytes, 234441648 sectors Disk model: SUV500MS120G Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes Disklabel type: dos Disk identifier: 0x8459def4 Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type /dev/sda1 * 2048 526335 524288 256M c W95 FAT32 (LBA) /dev/sda2 526336 34080767 33554432 16G 83 Linux /dev/sda3 34080768 117966847 83886080 40G 83 Linux /dev/sda4 117966848 234441647 116474800 55.6G 83 Linux
Next up I created the filsystems. For the boot partition
mkfs.fat /dev/sda1. For the remaining partitions
mkfs.ext4 -L ROOT /dev/sda2,
mkfs.ext4 -L VAR /dev/sda3, and
mkfs.ext4 -L DATA /dev/sda4. Now the drive is ready for copying.
For this step I choose to copy the fileystem from running system, so I shut down all the non-essential services. Might have been smarter to us a second system to do so, but it worked well enough.
The flow is straightforward: mount the path, copy the files, unmount.
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt,
sudo rsync -vax /boot/ /mnt/,
sudo umount /mnt.
sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt,
sudo rsync -vax --exclude /var / /mnt/,
sudo umount /mnt.
sudo mount /dev/sda3 /mnt,
sudo rysnc -vax /var/ /mnt/,
sudo umount /mnt.
Update Boot Configuration
Two files have to be updated to boot from the new drive:
/etc/fstab. Note that these files
live on the new drive, so you’ll have to mount the drive and use appropriate paths. Partitions are identified
by their their PARTUUID which you can get from
$ sudo blkid /dev/sda1: SEC_TYPE="msdos" UUID="45C8-6810" TYPE="vfat" PARTUUID="8459def4-01" /dev/sda2: LABEL="ROOT" UUID="fa266b1d-c288-429c-8efb-674b3ab7510b" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="8459def4-02" /dev/sda3: LABEL="VAR" UUID="0202f3fc-4997-4d01-ae79-52f1f9d8182a" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="8459def4-03" /dev/sda4: LABEL="DATA" UUID="28cc5c24-0f23-4224-9a55-a298e34ee9a2" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="8459def4-04"
Mount new boot drive via
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt.
Now we can update
/mnt/cmdline.txt to set the
umount /mnt. Now mount the new root partition:
mount /dev/sda2 /mnt.
Then we have to update
/mnt/etc/fstab to mount the correct partitions:
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0 PARTUUID=8459def4-01 /boot vfat defaults 0 2 PARTUUID=8459def4-02 / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1 PARTUUID=8459def4-03 /var ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1 PARTUUID=8459def4-04 /data ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1
Unmount and we’re done:
sudo umount /mnt.
Shut down the pi, take out the sdcard, and start it. It should boot from the msata drive and it should run a lot faster.