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.
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 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.
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.