Can an HP MicroServer N40L act as JBOD enclosure?

Discussion in 'RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters' started by jang430, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    I have an Unraid server, with limited disk storage space already. I have an HP MicroServer N40L. I know this device is no longer fast. Can I plug an HBA card that has external mini sas, and connect it to Unraid server? This will give me a few drives more. 4 at least.

    On a related note, I think the MicroServer has room for another HBA controller. Maybe I can place a Dell Per H310 card and buy one of those 5.25 8-bay enclosures for 2.5” hdds?

    Lastly, are there controllers that have 8 port internal, and 1 port external mini-sas? This makes it single card purchase only.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  2. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Hi, can anyone confirm? My next question is, if indeed it can, will the AMD Turion be a bottleneck during file transfer?
     
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  3. chaoscontrol

    chaoscontrol New Member

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    It should work, I don't know of a specific HBA card with both internal and outer ports but as some HP raid cards do this I expect they should exist. I don't think the Turion is going to be a problem as most of the grunt work should be done by the host and the Turion only has to compute the PCIe traffic.
     
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  4. gregsachs

    gregsachs Active Member

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  5. ari2asem

    ari2asem Member

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    another option if you really want jbod case

    - remove mainboard with all of its hardware (cpu, cooler, memory)
    - put a sas expander in ( one with molex 4pin power connector, e.g. intel or chenbro expanders)
    - put supermicro power jbod board

    https://www.servethehome.com/supermicro-cse-ptjbod-cb1-jbod-power-board-diy-jbod-chassis-made-easy/

    and voila....you have your jbod case

    chenbro ck22803
    Chenbro - Products

    intel res2sv240
    Intel® RAID Expander RES2SV240 Product Specifications

    or astek sas expanders
    Switches/Expanders - Astek Corporation
     
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  6. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    How do you connect the supermicro cable? I see the 16i cards have 4 ports. Connect 2 cables from supermicro to two ports, then use the other two remaining ports for sff8087 to sata fan out cables?
     
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  7. gregsachs

    gregsachs Active Member

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    Yeah, exactly. The supermicro cable is sff8087 to sff-8088.
     
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  8. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Thanks!
     
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  9. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Do SAS expanders work the same as HBA controllers? I'm currently using Dell Perc H310 right now. Limited to 8 ports only. The SAS expanders here can connect much more, and doesn't require a board. If I don't use any RAID (using Unraid), does it function exactly the same as HBA controllers? But with much more ports?
     
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  10. itronin

    itronin Active Member

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    They do not. You must have an HBA and connect that to a SAS expander in order to access the drives. Some SAS expanders only have PCIE connectors but they use that connector for power only (Notably the widely used $10 (used) HPE SAS expander). Some SAS expanders only have a power connector (notably and often molex), and some have both molex and a PCIE connector for power.
     
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  11. gregsachs

    gregsachs Active Member

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    Think of a sas expander as being a network switch. It gives more ports, but it doesn't really control the disks.
    I'm not sure if the h310 specifically is limited to a certain number of drives
    HBA/SAS/SATA Controller and SAS Expanders
     
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  12. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    @itronin , thanks
    @gregsachs , thanks

    Noted, it gives you a way to plug in more devices, but relies on other hba controllers to be accessible. I read somewhere that the h310 can be used with expanders to connect more drives. If that is the case, my hba has 2 internal ports. Does that mean I need to connect 1 or both to sas expander, and connect all drives to sas expanders?

    If that is the case, the motherboard of the original microserver will only serve as a brace to seat the hba and sas in expanders in place? As well as provide power? Equivalent to Supermicro Jbod component above? :)? Does it even affect file transfer performance?
     
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  13. itronin

    itronin Active Member

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    so I took a look here:

    Base Hardware N40L

    and a few challenges here from what I read the N40L uses low profile/half-height card slots. anything you do exapnder wise - if it is a card slot expander will need to be half height. I'm having a hard time finding internal pictures of the N40L so I don't know how much room is inside to mount an exapnder and the attendant cables. By the name microserver I'm going to guess not much room inside.

    if you install a 5.25 bay device that supports 8 2.5" drives *and* you want to use the 4 3.5" you'll definitely need an expander *or* a second card in your unraid box or a card in your unraid box that supports 16 SAS/SATA channels (like a 9x00-16i series). Because your N40L will have 12 devices in it. If you were to just install a 5.25 bay that supports say 4 2.5" drives (Note you can use up to 15mm drives now with the right bay device) your H310 will work though it may not be the best choice.

    if you want this to look clean with the H310 its going to be something like this:
    and be forewarned that with all these cables and connector conversions you may exceed the maximum SATA cable length and it won't work.

    install <H310 in unraid> ->
    <2x SHORT SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cable-> ->
    <SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 dual port bracket>->
    <.5m SFF-8088 to SFF-8088cable> ->
    <low profile SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 dual port bracket>->
    <2x SHORT SFF-8087 to 4xSATA cable> ->
    4 connectors to your new 5.25 bay with 4 2.5 slots
    4 connectors to your existing drive bays.
    No OS on your N40L, it acts as a power switch . You may be able to remove the ATX power cable and use a plug and if there is an on/off switch on the power supply not even power up the mainboard.

    Another option is this, its kludgy but should work. A big downside to this approach though is that if you need to move the unraid server or the N40L you'll have to open the case one of them to disconnect cables.

    install <H310 in unraid> ->
    <2x LONG SFF-8087 to 4x SATA cable>
    open up a bracket hole in your N40L and route the cables into your N40L
    4 connectors to your new 5.25 bay with 4 2.5 slots
    4 connectors to your existing drive bays.
    No OS on your N40L, it acts as a power switch . You may be able to remove the ATX power cable and use a plug and if there is an on/off switch on the power supply not even power up the mainboard.

    There are variations and a few different ways to cut this as well so this is only two ideas off the top of my head. happy to walk through others if you'd like.

    One thing to be careful of is that you could end up in a money pit trying to make this work. it won't be big money but still likely money wasted.

    Before purchasing more stuff you might answer, do you think you only need to add 4 drives for today? do you think you'll need another 4 in say 12 months?

    Is sound an issue with the solution? Ie your unraid server and the N40L are quiet and that's important?

    solving a problem today that comes back in 6,12, or 18 months may indicate a longer thought process today?

    Just throwing that out there.
     
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  14. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    @itronin , hahaha, the way you list it down does indeed make it a futile exercise :D . Though I'm happy I learned how to connect this things together from this question that I've thrown into this forum. It may not be necessarily feasible with N40L, but on larger cases, it should work fine.

    Thank you for your time and effort to research and explain this.
     
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  15. UhClem

    UhClem New Member

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    [Gird your grid for a big one ... ]
    As you know, your N40L has 4 x 3.5" internal SATA drive trays. And those 4 trays slide and plug into a backplane; that (of course) gets its power from the power supply. BUT, did you realize that the (7-pin data) SATA connections for those trays/drives is via a mini-SAS cable that connects to the motherboard??!! (front-left corner of mobo, to left of battery-see attached)

    Ergo, your N40L can easily become a 4-drive (JBOD) DAS for your unraid server (assuming an external 4-port SAS there) with the right cable snaked into (e.g., thru a pcie bracket) the N40L. And, it can still function (simultaneous alter ego) as an N40L (w/o access to the 4 trays). You could even "re-activate" SATA0-3 with an added fan-out cable (from the vacated J8 connection) to 4 drives crammed into the 5.25 bay and beneath.

    Kluges are cool.
     

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  16. ari2asem

    ari2asem Member

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    you dont need motherboard of microserver if your hba is inside another computer.

    the way i described, you create external jbod case from microserver, with sas expanders.

    motherboard of microserver has no any function when you use sas expanders
     
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  17. Marsh

    Marsh Moderator

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    HP G7 Microserver holds 6 drives if it changes the equation. 4 in the bay , 2 drives in the DVD bay.

    To use 4 drives, you do not need sas expanders, just buy a external connector.
    Remove the systemboard, install a plug to fake the Power On signal to power up the HP power supply.
    Install the external connector in the empty pcie slot.

    I still buying HP G7 server on Ebay when it is priced between $50 to $80 shipped.
    I have accumulated over 10 HP G7 microserver.
    I run xpenology with 6 x 4tb drives, work like a charm.
     
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  18. ari2asem

    ari2asem Member

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    in the 5.25" slot you can put adapter to hold 4* 2.5" (notebook) hdd/ssd. thus in totall 8 hdd. you can use sff-8087 to sff-8088 adapters together with supermicro power board. this would be the cheapest way making external jbod
     
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  19. Marsh

    Marsh Moderator

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    I like cheap 4TB 3.5" disk (less than $25 each) or 3 TB (less than $20 , $14-20 each )

    2.5" disk is not in my radar.
    I had multiple 4tb 2.5" disks died within 2 years. No more 2.5" disks for me.
     
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  20. jang430

    jang430 Member

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    Hey Guys! Thanks for the overwhelming response. This only shows that it can be done. It's just a matter of which route to take :D @Marsh , where do you find hdds at those prices? Refurb on ebay?
     
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