This is more on the networking side of things, but something that is very cool and extremely useful for managing devices on your network. Pre Execution Environment or PXE (pixie) has been around for over 10 years and provides a great alternative to booting machines and devices using CD’s, USB’s, and other types of media. Basically, as your computer loads, if Network Boot, or PXE is enabled as a boot device, your firmware will establish a network connection and search for PXE servers. If one is found, it can immediately be served up an image to boot. Obviously these images are typically very small in size, such as Linux.
Take a look at how to do this yourself. It’s not that challenging and the rewards are tremendous.