I have a third party requirement to run an operating system from a remote secured disk. The user is concerned about hard disk security but is not concerned about the risk to the remaining hardware.

At this stage I am not aware which OS they are running or indeed any restrictions on which OS is required so I am looking for a variety of suggestions.

Applications tend not to allow installation over mapped drives so the drive would have to be seen as a local disk i would expect. Again knowing the exact requirements would help sorry.

Obvious things that spring to mind:

  1. RDP client to secured/remote terminal services. Altough the user has concerns about graphics peformance. Again i am unable to query the user to understand the application requirements sorry. This point could also include apps like Citrix, GotoMyPC , VNC etc, a dedicated server with an ISP.

  2. Parallels. I dont know much about this product but i understand it allow as user to execute an application locally (on MAC but hosted on WINDOWS) without an RDP window (although its over an RDP type connection). App looks like its running on the MAC.

  3. 1M sata cable and host drive in a secure/hidden housing external to the PC hardware , floor/wall safe for example. Sounds extreme but user is not too worried about cost.

  4. iSCSI or FibreChannel SAN (if money no object) and boot to SAN disk. SAN would be secured/hidden. Drive is seen as a local disk obviously.

  5. ChromeOS , all hosted in cloud anyway.

  6. If data is the only concern then a varirty of cloud backup solutions are available or local NAS on a RAID array over ETHERNET.

  7. Boot from USB stick , could be carried with USER.

  8. Employ raid and bolt the machine to a desk ? (or a more elegant PHYSICAL security measure , secure room or specialised hardware for example).


Q1. Any product available that allows you to boot an OS from a remote drive over Ethernet ?

Q2. Any other solutions to this issue you can suggest ? .... however radical :)

Sorry about the open ended question , completely understand there are some crucial points that are unknown. Really just trying to find out how many solutions to this problem are available.

Thanks for your time Scott

  • What do you mean by a secured disk? Like, why does it have to be secured, in what way? You can encrypt volumes. – Bart Silverstrim Mar 8 '12 at 13:18

The only thing I know of that allows remote-boot over Ethernet is a server with a hardware iSCSI card, accessing an iSCSI Target on another system as LUN 0. I haven't seen this done myself, but have heard of it done.

In the past you could set up something via PXE-boot and NFS, but I don't know if that kind of system is still viable these days.

If Fibre Channel is a possibility, this is entirely doable and even well supported. The target you talk to needs to be able to present LUN 0 to the host, and the FC card on the host need to support boot-from-SAN. I'm doing just this right now for some VMWare ESX hosts.

  • 1
    +1 I do PXE to NFS booting at home (my workstation has no HD); iSCSI Boot at work (Hyper-V Servers have no HDs); and FC is practically a given. – Chris S Mar 8 '12 at 13:41
  • iPXE can boot machines via iSCSI (and a bunch of other protocols), without requiring anything more then a standard ethernet adapter. – devicenull Mar 8 '12 at 14:02
  • @devicenull Good to know we've progressed that far! – sysadmin1138 Mar 8 '12 at 14:18

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