Sneak preview from Mythic Labs, Raspberry Pi netboot

August 5th, 2016 by

We don’t like to pre-announce things that aren’t ready for public consumption. It’s no secret that we’d love to offer hosted Raspberry Pis in the data centre, and in our view the blocker for this being possible is the unreliability of SD cards which require physical attention when they fail. So we’ve provided some assistance to Gordon to help with getting netboot working for the Raspberry Pi. We built a sensible looking netboot setup and spent a fair amount of time debugging and reading packets to try and help work out why the netboot was occasionally stopping.

This isn’t yet a production service and you can’t buy a hosted Raspberry Pi server. Yet. But if you’d be interested, we’d love to hear from you at

This is a standard Raspberry Pi 3 with a Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter. You have to boot the Pi once from a magic SD card which enables netboot. Then you remove the SD card and plug it in to the powered network port. PoE means we can power cycle it using the managed switch. At boot, it talks to a standard tftpd server and isc-dhcp-server, this then delivers the kernel which runs from an NFS root. It’s a minimal Raspbian Jessie from debootstrap plus sshd and occupies a mere 381M versus the 1.3G for a standard Raspbian install. The switch is reporting the Pi 3 consuming 2W.

The Raspberry Pi topple is just for fun.