(August 7, 2017)
The Raspberry Pi is a cool little computer allowing you to do lots of crazy DIY projects interfaced through the GPIO port. While the Raspberry Pi is a small embeddable computer, because it runs Linux the Raspberry Pi is instantly approachable by any programmer. The biggest flaw in this picture is that it uses an SD card as the boot device. SD cards are not exactly fast nor reliable, preventing the Raspberry Pi from being used in serious production situations.
In April 2017 the Raspberry Pi foundation released the ability for the Raspberry Pi Model 3 to boot off a drive connected via USB. That instantly opens the door to using reliable regular disks rather than unreliable SD cards. The downside is that disks must connect via USB2 limiting disk throughput speed. As with anything there are plusses and minuses, but this is an interesting step forward.
For those seriously interested in using a Linux-Single-Board-Computer with a regular disk, some of the other devices will be a better choice. For example the Orange Pi Plus 2 has a SATA connector.