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Using NetBoot to Reduce Maintenance and SWaP-C in Embedded Systems

November 14, 2017 | BY: Paul Davis

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Hosting Operating System (OS) software for embedded computers on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server, instead of on local media, delivers a number of significant benefits. Among the advantages of this approach are the elimination of requirements for Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) and the reduction of Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-C). And, most importantly, hosting the operating system on a NAS rather than DAS dramatically simplifies future upgrades by reducing the time and effort required for software updates.

The technique of hosting the OS on a NAS is called network booting, or NetBoot for short. NetBoot delivers new efficiencies, better security, and significant savings to teams that are tasked with maintaining software on embedded systems. While NetBoot is often referred to as PXE boot (pronounced “pixie” - short for Pre-eXecution Environment) - not all NetBoot mechanisms are PXE. NetBoot was originally developed to allow desktop PC thin clients to run without an OS installed on the computer. This eliminated issues with runtimes in DAS and reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for IT departments.

Today, NetBoot may be used to install new software on a desktop system without booting from removable media. To install the software, the user simply selects the network as the boot device and the system uses the content on the file server instead of the installation media. This process can then be efficiently repeated for multiple systems (Figure 1).

Figure 1: A Single NAS Server (Curtiss-Wright DTS1) Providing Boot Files to Multiple Clients

Download the Using NetBoot to Reduce Maintenance and SWaP-C in Embedded Systems white paper to learn how NetBoot brings new efficiencies, better security, and significant savings to teams that are tasked with maintaining software on embedded systems and take a closer look at:

 

Author’s Biography

Paul Davis

Director, Product Management - Data Solutions

Paul Davis began his career for Curtiss-Wright as a Research Manager for the Dayton, OH facility in 1997. Paul has held positions including: Director of Engineering managing a staff of 40+ engineers, managers, technicians, and co-op students; Product Manager for the switches, recorders, and various board level products; and now Director of Product Management. Prior to joining Curtiss-Wright, Paul worked in engineering and engineering management positions for 19 years.

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