Update December 2017:
This tutorial is outdated.
With newer version of Raspbian you can install an USB SSD the same way as a sd card.
A lot of openHAB users are concerned about the reliability of sd cards. Under certain circumstances while using persistence services and with a lot of read/write cycles through openHAB and system logging they tend to worn out. For the RPi3 there is a new USB mass storage boot mode which allows to boot the operating system from a harddisk, preferable an SSD harddisk, without the need of any sd card at all. You just need a sd card once to setup the boot mode.
This will not work with older RPi1 or RPi2 models!
After successful setup completion the sd card is removed and is not needed any more to boot the system. Note:
the new USB boot mode is provided through beta firmware and may not work with all USB harddisks.
More information and a general overview about the new boot modes can be found here:
I tested it with two old noname USB flash drives (8GB and 16GB) and they both worked. I then bought a 128GB USB 3.0 SSD harddisk and since two month I‘m using this setup without any problems. Setup:
Follow this tutorial exactly: Note:
there is one step missing in that tutorial:
before entering the command
sudo mkfs.vfat -n BOOT -F 32 /dev/sda1
you have to exit parted with
Update: a plain
sudo apt-get update && upgrade is sufficient now, see also:
Because the new USB mass storage boot mode is provided through beta firmware you can‘t upgrade your system with
anymore. This will disable the USB mass storage boot mode and you have to start from scratch again.
Solution for this:
/boot/.firmware_revision to something else, f.e.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade && sudo BRANCH=next rpi-update
and voila, system and openHAB (if installed through apt-get) is up to date.