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iSCSI Booting your Raspberry Pi

I hadn't seen this topic come up before on this sub so I thought I would share my experience.
I'm sure I've made formatting (or other) mistakes, please be gentle this is actually my very first post on Reddit :)
First of all, why the hell would anyone want to do this?
Well I can think of several reasons:
...You have a bunch of SD cards laying around but they're too small to be useful (2GB or Less)
...Your pi is going to be doing heavy I/O and you don't want to have to worry about frying the SD card
...You want a large amount of flexible storage for your Raspberry Pi
...You want to impress your friends with your mad linux skillz
There's probably a lot more uses that I haven't thought of here!
For me it was kind of a challenge to see if I could actually get the Raspberry Pi to boot from iSCSI. I have done it before with full PCs and it works great. I noticed that the official Raspberry Pi kernel images as well as the ones from Hexxeh include all the modules necessary for iSCSI over TCP. I'm happy to report that not only is this possible, but I've been running my Pi 2 this way for about a week without any issues.
But why not just use NFS? NFS works well and there are already several tutorials on how to get it up and running, but one major issue is that NFS tends to fail badly with any kind of interruption in the network. iSCSI on the other hand is very fault tolerant and by tweaking timeouts you can even make the server wait forever for a reconnection (I wouldn't recommend this as it may cause problems. Better to set a sane timeout like 5-10 minutes). This makes it more suited to something like Wi-Fi where the connection might be interrupted. (I still would recommend ethernet over Wi-Fi simply because of the headaches Wi-Fi can cause. It would also make your initial ramdisk MUCH more complicated. As such, this tutorial will be focused on ethernet only.)
If you haven't been scared off yet, then let's get started!
Here's what you're going to need:
1) A Raspberry Pi with Ethernet (Pi B/B+, Pi 2 or Pi 3) and An SD Card with the Raspbian image already flashed on it. Now I know what you're thinking, why the hell do I need an SD card if we're going to boot off of iSCSI? Well unfortunately the way the Raspberry Pi's firmware is written, it expects to find the bootloader and kernel on a fat32 partition of an SD card. It is not capable of PXE booting. I've heard rumors that this might change in the future with the Raspberry Pi 3 (and possibly older Pis as well) but that has not been confirmed.
2) A Server with some kind of iSCSI target running on it. If you're not sure what that means, this tutorial might not be for you. I would recommend reading up on how to set up an iSCSI target first as it is beyond the scope of this tutorial. There are many MANY excellent resources out there on how to set up iSCSI (both target and initiator) on your Linux PC.
I would recommend something like FreeNAS for those who are unfamiliar with iSCSI as it provides a GUI to get things set up and it is more user friendly.
If you are familiar with iSCSI and want to set up your own server, there are 2 competing iSCSI target implementations. The one included in the linux kernel is called LiO. Most distributions should have binary packages for LiO and it should be relatively straightforward to install. The other is called SCST. I personally recommend SCST, I have used it for several years and have found it to be rock stabe. It also has support for things like SCSI passthrough which allows you to directly attach a SCSI device (in linux almost every block device is a SCSI device) to your initiator. This means things like sharing a CD/DVD-RW or Blu-Ray drive and being able to write CDs/DVDs/Blu-Rays with your Raspberry Pi while keeping the USB ports free for other things.
SCST is a bit more difficult to get working, you'll need to be familiar with compiling your own kernel and compiling in general but if that doesn't scare you off, I HIGHLY recommend SCST.
3) An inital ramdisk image. For those of you unfamiliar with what that is, it's basically a filesystem image containing a mostly complete (but very tiny) linux system. For simple devices like routers running Linux, this may be the only filesystem they use. For PCs this is typically used to load modules for things like SCSI/SATA controllers that aren't compiled into the linux kernel, so that the kernel can then load the real root filesystem off of the disks attached to them. An initial ramdisk (initrd) can also be used to do crazy things like mount a loopback image as the root filesystem, or to unlock a disk that has been encrypted before booting the system. In our case, the crazy thing we're doing is loading the iSCSI subsystem, initializing the network interface, setting an IP address and connecting to our iSCSI target.
Creating an initrd can be a complicated task. Fortunately I've included the one that I created, you can download it here
If you're feeling adventurous, you can try and build your own initrd image. You can use mine as a guide to build your own. Basically it needs:
  1. a full filesystem (/etc,/bin,/sbin,etc...)
  2. busybox to provide /bin/sh and /bin/mount at the very least.
  3. a script to start everything up usually called /init or /linuxrc this is typically a basic shell script, if you're comfortable with shell scripting you can make it quite robust, even processing the kernel command line to look for queues on which device or partition the root filesystem is on, the IP address of your machine, etc.
Once the kernel has initialized memory, it calls a process (by default it calls /init) on the root filesystem. Both the root filesystem and the program called can be specified on the kernel command line via the root= and init= switches. The init program is responsible for loading modules, mounting the root filesystem and preparing for the actual boot of the system. Typically this program will hand off control to your system's init whether it be Systemd or OpenRC based. If the process should die without transferring control to another script, the kernel will panic (crash). If you have set the panic= switch, then the kernel will wait the specified number of seconds and reboot. Otherwise it will wait forever.
You're all probably falling asleep now, but understanding the basics of inital ramdisks allows you to do some really neat and strange things with Linux. There are also lots of tools out there to automagically build an initrd such as initramfs-tools for Debian and Ubuntu, but they don't really work for the more exotic setups and I find it easier to just create my own sometimes.
Ok, if you haven't run screaming by now then lets get started!
Step 1: Insert your SD card with the Raspbian image and boot your Raspberry Pi. You'll need a keyboard and monitor unless you already have SSH set up and working on the Pi.
Step 2: Update the apt cache and make sure open-iscsi is installed by running the following command:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install open-iscsi 
Step 3: Make sure that the iscsi management daemon is running:
sudo /etc/init.d/open-iscsi start 
Note: The name of the init script may be different based on your distro. It is called /etc/init.d/iscsid in Gentoo for example.
Step 4: With your favorite editor, open /etc/iscsi/initiatorname.iscsi and change the initiator name. It should be something like:
Step 5: We're going to discover the targets on our iSCSI server, we'll do that with the following command:
sudo iscsiadm --mode discovery --type sendtargets --portal :3260 
If all goes well, a list of the server's targets should show up on the screen and it should drop you back to a prompt. If your server requires a username and password, you'll need to enter those in /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf. If it doesn't work, make sure that you have the correct IP and port and that your iSCSI target is running on the server.
Step 6: Now that we've discovered the server's target(s) we're going to attempt to connect to them using the following command:
sudo iscsiadm --mode node --login --loginall all 
If we do a dmesg we should see that we've connected to the target and a new SCSI disk should appear as /dev/sda. (If you have a flash drive or an external hard drive plugged into the Pi, then the new disk might be something else like /dev/sdb).
Step 7 This is the dangerous part, we're going to create a filesystem on our new iSCSI disk and copy our raspbian filesystem onto it. You need to be absolutely sure that the target is pointing at an empty image file and not a whole partition or disk where you may loose important data.
We'll create an ext4 filesystem (you can use whatever filesystem you like, just make sure the kernel supports it):
sudo mkfs.ext4 -m0 /dev/sda 
IMPORTANT I know I just said /dev/sda there, but you need to make sure that's correct for your iSCSI device. If you have a flash drive or an external hard drive plugged in, it may be a different device!
Step 8: We'll mount our new iSCSI disk and begin to copy the Raspbian filesystem on it:
sudo mkdir /mnt/iscsi && sudo mount /dev/sda /mnt/iscsi 
Step 9: Copy the raspbian filesystem onto our new iSCSI disk:
sudo rsync -avhP --exclude /boot --exclude /proc --exclude /sys --exclude /mnt / /mnt/iscsi/ 
This will take a while to copy depending on the size of your filesystem, but once it's finished you should have a clone of your raspbian filesystem on your iSCSI disk.
Step 10: We excluded /proc, /sys, /boot and /mnt so we'll need to recreate them on our new disk as well as an /initrd directory:
sudo mkdir /mnt/iscsi/{proc,sys,boot,initrd,mnt} 
Step 11: If you haven't already downloaded my initrd image or created your own, you should do so now and save it in the /boot directory on your Raspberry Pi's SD card.
Step 12: This is only applicable if you're using my image. The image has modules in it for a specific kernel version (4.1.17-v7+). You'll need to update it to whatever kernel version you're currently using. I've included a script in the root of the image that automatically fetches the modules you'll need and stores them in a file called modules.tar.gz. Mount the initrd image into the /initrd directory (go ahead and create it if it doesn't exist):
sudo mkdir /initrd && sudo mount -o loop /boot/initrd.img /initrd 
Step 13: Open the /initrd/etc/initrd.conf in your favorite editor and change the KERNEL_VERSION variable to match your kernel version. If you don't know what version you're running, simply type:
uname -r 
You'll want to copy the output exactly with all dashes and dots. If you look at the /initrd/linuxrc script you'll see that it's needed to properly boot the kernel. It is also used by the script to find the correct modules. Before you say it, yes I know I could just use uname -r in the script to automagically get the kernel version, however that doesn't necessarily work when you're in an initrd environment which is when this script would ordinarily be called.
Step 14: run the /initrd/ script:
sudo sh /initrd/ 
This should gather all the necessary modules and place them in a file called /initrd/modules.tar.gz.
Step 15: Let's make a backup of /boot/config.txt and /boot/cmdline.txt in case things don't work and we need to boot off of an SD card again.
sudo cp /boot/config.txt /boot/config.bak && sudo cp /boot/cmdline.txt /boot/cmdline.bak 
Step 16: In your favorite editor, open /boot/config.txt and add the following line:
initramfs initrd.img followkernel 
It is very important that the line look exactly as it does above. Notice how there is no = after initramfs and also that it is a relative path and not /boot/initrd.img. If you've renamed initrd.img to something else, make sure you use that instead.
Step 17: In your favorite editor, open /boot/cmdline.txt and change it to look like this:
dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 console=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 ip=:::::eth0:off iscsi_t_ip= iscsi_i=iqn.2016.03.localdomain.raspberrypi:openiscsi-initiator iscsi_t=iqn.2016.03.localdomain.myservername:raspberrypi rw root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc rootfs=ext4 rootdev=UUID=aaaaa-bbbbb-ccccc-ddddd-eeeee-fffff elevator=deadline rootwait panic=15 
Please do not copy it exactly change , etc to match your network. You also need to change the UUID to the UUID of your root filesystem. You can find this by typing:
sudo blkid /dev/sda 
Where /dev/sda is your iSCSI disk device (might not be /dev/sda). You'll want to copy the UUID exactly, without the quotes.
Step 18: Since we've cloned our Raspbian filesystem, the /etc/fstab file is going to be wrong. Open up /mnt/iscsi/etc/fstab in your favorite editor and find the line that looks like this:
/dev/mmcblk0p6 / ext4 data=ordered,noatime,rw 0 0 
The line might not look exactly like that but it gives you an idea of what to look for. Change it to the following:
UUID= / ext4 data=ordered,noatime,rw 0 0 
You can leave the line for /boot alone as we're still going to mount that from the SD card.
At this point you're done. Make any final checks you need to, cross your fingers and toes and reboot the Raspberry Pi. If all goes well, you should reboot into a prompt (or a GUI) and your Raspberry Pi should show that you are running off of the iSCSI disk instead of the SD card.
If something goes wrong, it'll most likely be a problem mounting the filesystem. Unless things go horribly wrong, the initrd is designed to dump you into a shell where you can try to troubleshoot the problem on your own. Make sure that you're using the correct UUID for the iSCSI disk, also make sure that the ip addresses are correct. If you simply can't get things to work, you can always revert back to the original behavior by renaming cmdline.txt and config.txt and restoring the backups you made.
I hope that this has been useful to someone, thanks for viewing!! :)
Edit: Wow, I wasn't sure if anyone would actually be interested, thank you so much for your comments!
I was aware of the BerryBoot project but I didn't realize that it had an iSCSI boot option as well. Here is a link to that project. Thanks to EthanBB for pointing that out!
I also added a link to a guide from another redditor on NFS Root.
submitted by locutusofborg780 to raspberry_pi [link] [comments]

Guide to playing NMS from a RAM disk

Introduction No Man's Sky is a fairly small game by today's standards, so it is feasible to run it from a RAM disk if you have 12+ GB of memory. Though to be fair, and even if a RAM disk is at least a order of magnitude faster than a SSD, I'm not entirely sure if this actually significantly improves gameplay for the majority of player. For me it did very much so, but I don't have a SSD and my actual hard disks are rather slow. Your mileage may vary. Also, the starting of the RAM disk manager and the loading/saving of the RAM disk image before/after each play session takes a few seconds, so you may consider if this is worth it for you. Finally, I only did this on Windows 7, so I have no clue if this works on other windows versions. But it should.
You need:
First, make a backup of your save game from C:\Users[YOURUSERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\HelloGames\NMS. Second, if you already modified the NMS settings, copy the whole SETTINGS folder from [YOURSTEAMFOLDER]\SteamApps\common\No Man's Sky\Binaries\ to a safe place. After downloading and installing ImDisk the software will probably start right away; ignore that and close it. We want to start the virtual disk manager as an administrator. To do this navigate to C:\Windows\System32, right-click on imdisk.cpl, select "Create shortcut", and let Windows create the shortcut on the Desktop. Now right-click "imdisk.cpl - shortcut" on your desktop and select "Run as administrator". IMPORTANT: You have to start as an administrator EVERY TIME, otherwise you can't save the RAM disk image to your actual harddisk.
After you started the disk manager as an admin, create a new virtual disk with the attributes like in this picture. It's up to you which drive letter you choose, BUT REMEMBER IT! (I named it R: like in RAM disk...) Create a new EMPTY folder in your shiny new ramdisk and name it whatever you want.
ONLY FOR STEAM: Open Steam and open the menu "Steam - Setting - Downloads". Click on "STEAM LIBRARY FOLDERS" and add the folder from your RAM disk. Now, assuming you have NMS already installed elsewhere, right click on "No Man's Sky" and choose "delete local content". After waiting a few seconds, right click again on it and choose "Install Game...". Then make sure that you select the correct library folder in the installation window, namely the folder you just created in your RAM disk. Otherwise it's just the normal Steam installation routine. Wait until Steam finished downloading NMS again. If you made a backup of your SETTING folder, copy it into [YourRAMDisk]:[YourFolder]\SteamApps\common\No Man's Sky\Binaries\ Now start NMS to check if everything worked. If not... sorry :(
ONLY FOR GOG: I don't have the game on GOG, so the following is only speculation and also very basic, but it should work. Maybe. Hopefully. Open GOG Galaxy and right-click on NMS and select "Manage Installation - uninstall". Then go to your "Library" and install it again in the folder on your ramdisk. Wait until GOG Galaxy finished downloading NMS again. If you made a backup of your SETTING folder, copy it into [YourRAMDisk]:[YourFolder]\No Man's Sky\Binaries\ Now start NMS to check if everything worked. If not... sorry :(
IMPORTANT: After every game session you have to save the RAM disk image. Otherwise it's gone forever after a restart. To do this, start the RAM disk manager as admin, right-click on your RAM disk and select "save to image file". Choose a safe location and remember it. And before every game session (preferable before you even start steam) you have to add that image file as a RAM disk. To do this, click on "Mount new", and select the options like previously and select the correct "Image file" and Drive letter. The driver letter must be the correct one.
And if all this really improved the game for you, please post your experience. And good luck.
Edit: Update for the patch on 19.08.16 Even though this patch is only around 100mb, it seems that Steam won't install it if your RAM disk is only 4 GB. You can extend the size of the RAM disk by 2GB by right-clicking on it in the Disk Manager a choosing "Extend Size...", then adding two Gigabyte. Though you can't shrink the RAM disk again.
submitted by TheTabman to NoMansSkyTheGame [link] [comments]

[HOW TO] Increase your FPS by optimizing your video settings

I have played this game for nearly a thousand hours now and after all this time I can finally run it on high settings at 60+ FPS. Gone are the days where I played this game in low resolution on low settings with 20-30 FPS. Hallelujah.
All credit to Sir_Pinkftw for making the guide. I just wanted to spread it around.
Remember that it's always a good idea to back up your files before making changes!
EDIT: I should note that I skipped step 5. I got the results I wanted without this step.
1) click the skyrim link that thread click the green download button scroll down click the blue text that says this: Optimizer Texures 083e 27,868 unique downloads 50,565 downloads 412kb size Use download manually make a new folder on your desktop put the zip file inside the folder
Run Ordenador - follow guidlines at
2) now access your chivalry folder from your documents section Documents\My Games\Chivalry Medieval Warfare\UDKGame\Config once there open this ini file UDKEngine.ini find these 3 commands (all 3 clumbed together) make them look like mine -
3) in the same folder path we need to edit another ini file Documents\My Games\Chivalry Medieval Warfare\UDKGame\Config UDKSystemSettings.ini keep scrolling down until you get to a gap and see [SystemSettingsBucket1] see the command i have highlighted above systemsettingsbucket 1? has to be this one - there are duplicates of this same command in the file
4) go to start control panel click system security click power options make sure your power is on high performance
5) click the free version button you have more than enough, we are going to make you a 4GB ramdisk under the load/save tab now go to the settings tab make your settings look like that copy chivalry folder from steam and paste into ram drive now open the chivalry folder from your ramdisk go to Binaries open Win32 scroll through until you find UDK.exe Application you are going to double click that to open your game and then you are set
submitted by frabron to ChivalryGame [link] [comments]

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