Having become disillusioned with hacking Buffalo NAS devices, I've decided to roll my own home server. After some research, I have settled on an HP Proliant Microserver with Ubuntu Server and a ZFS RAID-Z array for data.
I settled on this configuration after trying and regretfully rejecting FreeNAS because the Logitech Media Server (LMS) software isn't available on the AMD64 flavour of this platform and because I think Debian/Ubuntu server is a better future-proof platform. I considered Open Media Vault, but concluded that it isn't quite yet ready for my purposes.
That said, FreeNAS does include the option to run itself off a 2GB+ flash device like USB key or thumb drive. Apparently FreeNAS is mindful of the write limitations of flash devices and so creates virtual disks for running the OS, writing only the required configuration information back to flash. This would give me an extra data drive slot.
Q: Can Ubuntu Server be configured sensibly to run off a flash device such as a USB key/thumb drive? If so, how? The write limitations of flash should be accounted for.