SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB USB 2.0 thumb drive a 1U server accessory

Posted August 20, 2013 by Patrick Kennedy in Client Tips
SanDisk Cruzer Fit

The SanDisk Cruzer Fit makes for an excellent server accessory. That may not be their typical or intended use, but we have been using them for some time in servers successfully. 1U servers commonly have internal USB Type-A headers. This is a feature that we highlight in our server motherboard reviews. The internal Type-A USB header can be used for many cases. We see them on server/ workstation hybrid motherboards as they are often used for keys in high end workstation applications. Likewise, we see some use of them in server applications, e.g. unRAID. That type of authentication has been around for decades and is a great reason to use an internal USB Type-A port. A second common application is to install a USB drive inside a server for either a boot volume or a recovery volume. Recently, we have been using a set of SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB drives in the lab.

The SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB costs about $12 on Amazon. There are other versions with our common alternate being the 8GB version for about $8, or less than a dollar more than the 4GB version. As one can see from the picture below, the drive is indeed one of the newer generation small USB 2.0 drives.

SanDisk Cruzer Fit

SanDisk Cruzer Fit

When the SanDisk Cruzer Fit is inserted into a server motherboard Type-A USB port, the result is a very low profile drive. This is important in a 1U context because a single rack unit is defined as 1.75 inches (44.45mm.) After chassis sheet metal, motherboard standoffs, motherboard PCB then the Type-A header, oftentimes there is substantially under 1.25″ for a USB drive. Small form factor USB drives fit nicely in this space. Another benefit is that lower form factor drives do not block as much airflow as larger counterparts. As one can see from the pictures, the SanDisk Cruzer Fit 16GB drive sits very low on the Type-A USB header.

SanDisk Cruzer Fit in a Type A Server Motherboard header

SanDisk Cruzer Fit in a Type A Server Motherboard header

SanDisk Cruzer Fit Performance

Being a USB 2.0 drive concerned with cost and form factor rather than performance, the speed of the USB 2.0 drive is not overly impressive. We did a quick CentOS 6.3 LiveCD file copy test after filling the drive with 8GB of data. The average speed fell just below 7MB/s.

SanDisk Cruzer Fit ISO Copy Speed

SanDisk Cruzer Fit ISO Copy Speed

Overall there are a lot of options out there for 1U server internal USB drives. The SanDisk Cruzer Fit drives have worked well for us thus far and are fairly inexpensive for a drive that comes from a larger flash drive vendor.

About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.



    I have been using them for a few months on my esxi and freenas server builds. I haven’t had one failed on me yet.


    Been using the 4gb & 32gb version for some time now, not a single failure in any of my esxi hosts.


    These are also nice for front or rear ports as they don’t stick out enough to catch on anything and fall out or break off. Good for laptops. I can even close the drive bay cage doors on some rack cases with them plugged in.

    They aren’t the only super small thumbdrives out there, but probably the most common in stores.


    Awesome, I actually just had two of these come in to test as boot media for a couple of XenServers. This site man, simpatico!


    Just to let you know I bought several Cruzerfit 8GB to use as VMware installations and so far, several of them about 8 from 40 failed after a while. They just vanishes from the host, VMware says the device is missing but it can still run as it is loaded in memory. The problem is when you reboot the host. Several times it doesn’t come back alive. There were cases the server rebooted fine, but after a few months the problem came back. Also, you can’t check the hardware aspects of the host using vCenter because it needs to write some data on the USB drive I believe plus a few other issues like on Dell servers I use the open manage VIB so I can access raid controllers and create raid container for example.

    Be careful with this!


    I saw the same thing on the 8GB drives. 16GB have worked perfectly with VMWare ESXi 5.1 and 5.5

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