Building my own SAS Expander/Enclosure

Discussion in 'DIY Server and Workstation Builds' started by Bert, May 7, 2018.

  1. Bert

    Bert New Member

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    I want to have this fun project since I realized I have all the parts and I may be able to use this as one big SAS enclosure with a combination of 2.5" and 3.5" drives. I noticed the guide here: https://www.servethehome.com/sas-expanders-diy-cheap-low-cost-jbod-enclosures-raid/ and I have the parts except than SAS Expanders and they are pretty cheap.

    Right now, I have Antec1200 case with three 3.25" supermicro enclosures (each has 5 bays). The case has still 3 empty 5.25" bays but I want to keep them available for 2.5" bays and case is already very heavy and these supermicro enclosures are slightly large to fit into the last section. It looks like Antec 1200 is pretty strong with very good fans and cooling. I also have the Antec CP1000 powers supply. I have several old motherboard lying around ready for the job but I am eyeing Asus p5K -pro and Asus p5n32-sli as they both have 2 PCI-E x16 slots. I plan to install 2 sas expanders so that I can increase the throughput to 2 * 6G. I will mainly use spindles with this build.

    Questions I have:
    - Has anyone tried this build and any experience/gotcha points to share?
    - Will all the motherboards power up with a switch without cpu?
    - I really need to control this unit remotely as it will be in garage. Any ideas how to do it? I am currently considering to set the bios to power on always and use a wifi controlled switch. Is there any usb/wifi controlled motherboard switch or some better idea than this?
     
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  2. TLN

    TLN Active Member

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    Why do you want to power up board without CPU? For expander?
    How many drives you really need? Or better how much TB do you really need?
    Any board with IPMI can be started and powered off remotely, but again, what's the point in that? Drives are likely to fail when you start and stop your PC once a day. Not to mention that keeping data in garage is probably bad idea
     
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  3. Mishka

    Mishka Member

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    I believe the SuperMicro JBOD3? board has IPMI though its not cheap it means you dont need a motherboard taking up space in the case.

    Also re mobo booting without a CPU yes it will turn on enough for fans to move BUT......it might not power up the PCI-E area of the mobo I would just get two of the PCI-E Miner boards you can see all over the place on ebay for few quid each which is what I intend when I eventually build my SAS expander enclosure JBOD thing to add more space to my fileserver
     
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    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  4. Bert

    Bert New Member

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    There are relatively cheap supermicro boards like X8SIL-F under $35. But that would be a dead investment if IPMI does not work without CPU. I will probably buy one to try out.
     
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  5. Stefan75

    Stefan75 Member

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    I'm using my 24 bay SC846A/HP-SAS-expander without IPMI/board.
    I just shorted the ATX power pin and turn the case on/off by an external remote power switch (esp8266).
    The fans are controlled by a $6 PWM fan control.
    I can get the disk health/temp using Smart.
     
    #5
  6. squidman

    squidman Member

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    I have 2 antecs, a 1200 for a future backup build (with Norco ss-500 5 bay enclosures), and a smaller one (forget model) which is used as a DAS. Since it came used with a mobo, I got rid of the ram and cpu (gave them away, stupid!) and just plopped an ibm sas expander in there, connected via 2xsff-8087? cables straight to my workstation m1115. Mobo is there just to power the sas expander, and fans. Actually works! No cpu, ram or anything (obviously older psu is powering the mobo and 7 hdd's in there). Looks pretty ghetto (no adapter, just ebayed a whole stack of sff-8087 cables in various lengths, and run 2 out through the pci slots of my main workstation case), but works fine. With the m1115 and ibm sas expander, supposedly getting 6g speeds, not that I've tested. Hardly matters with spinners.

    Still struggling flashing my m1115 to it mode, but as it stands, the m1115 (and assume m1015) works really well with the ibm sas expander. Only thing with that ebay sas expander, it needs to be powered by pci-e. Have a pci-e mining extension card on the way, so may do the stefan method and use that and a fan controller to declutter a very small case. Still, this was one solution, as even my workstation housed in a corsair 900d ran out of hdd space (at one point had around 18 spinning drives? attached).

    Note with the antec 1200 (wow great case for this application! only one? with 12x5.25" bays), you will have to bend or dremel off the 'fins' sticking out of the 5.25" bays, a job I'm not looking forward too (to fit 5 bay enclosures). But can potentially hold 20 spinning drives, and without f-16 noise of a rack case. And of course, 2nd hand can be had for cheap...picked mine up for around 40 bucks in Norway..happy days! All the kids growing up are downsizing case size, which is good for the likes of us! downside of the antec 1200 of course is that it will only just barely squeeze in an atx mobo...can forget about eatx or ssi-eeb. It's also ugly as sin too...! Maybe a wooden ikea or something case next time, but, at the moment a bit too much work...(routing out fan holes etc..!)
     
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    Last edited: May 14, 2018
    Bert likes this.
  7. Bert

    Bert New Member

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    I did cut most of the fins with a multi-tool, it took me roughly 15 minutes so it was pretty easy. Antec 1200 become so heavy with all the 15 drives, I cannot imaging handling it with 20 drives in it so I think I will stop at 15 bays for the time being.

    Unfortunately, the system didn't work so I hope I can get a little bit help.

    I used this SAS expander card:

    HP 487738-001 468405-001 24-Bay 3Gb SAS Expander Card DL380 G6 & G7 w/Warranty | eBay

    I installed an old motherboard to the case and installed one SAS card to one of the PCI-E x16 slots. I am pretty sure motherboard is powering the system as the graphics card fan spins. I hooked the SAS expanders SF8088 port to my LSI 9201-16E, which I verified working with a vanilla SAS Enclosure. Unfortunately, card does not see any of the drives. I don't quite understand how this fails. Every piece in the system is tested in another setup so the only possibility is faulty SAS expander card, a highly unlikely situation but I cannot think of any other problem. Everything looks pretty pretty neat.

    What am I missing here?
     
    #7
  8. squidman

    squidman Member

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    One thing i learned with my ibm sas expander..the das/jbod needs to be running and hdds spinning before workstation is turned on.
    Pretty sure there's a dedicated thread on that hp sas expander..a firmware thing? Flashed to it mode?
    Aside, if placing in garage doesn't it make more sense to build a nas, with say 10g spf+ optical or something if you need the throughput? Not even sure if ipmi will help with file transfers. Would need cpu ram etc either way (never used ipmi).
     
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  9. Stefan75

    Stefan75 Member

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    I'm also using the 9201-16E and the same HP expander.
    I recommend flashing the expander to firmware 2.10: HP SAS Expander Owner's Thread
    Contact me if you need help.
     
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