JBOD Enclosure Questions

perpetualNoob

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Oct 16, 2018
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I want to build out a growable NAS using ZFS. I'm a bit confused about the chassis options when looking for chassis with a large number of drive bays. I have seen, on this forum and others, discussion about the supermicro chassis. However, when looking on ebay, I see that these often, but not always, come with a motherboard and cpu and whatnot essentially having another computer within the chassis. What I would like is to buy a cheap used computer with, by today's standards, modest specs, say a dell c1100 with 72GB RAM and 2x Xeon L5520s, slap in one or two of the LSI SAS HBAs, and connect external chassis that only hold disks to the c1100 via SAS. In my research, I believe such a configuration is called direct attached storage (DAS), but seeing the supermicro and other chassis suggestions with whole computers in them already, it doesn't fit what I believe to be a DAS chassis. Furthermore, looking on ebay and elsewhere for "DAS enclosure" is unfruitful. I would like the external chassis to support large capacity (8TB+) SATAIII HDDs and SSDs, which apparently many of the older backplanes have problems with. I do not need the multihomed feature of SAS. And by growable NAS, I mean I want the ability to buy one chassis for drives now, and a few months down the road buy another chassis for drives, and then another a few months later, etc.

Am I misunderstanding how these supermicro chassis work?

What chassis should I be looking at?

Any other considerations I have overlooked?
 

i386

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Mar 18, 2016
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Supermicro makes chassis for different purposes.
Most of the used chassis on ebay are for general purpose + storage, the "das" (or as supermicro calls them jbod chassis) are rare compared to the general purpose cases.
If you want to use sata driver bigger than 2tb you will need at least sas2 controllers and expanders.
For newer deployments I would look at 2u or 4u supermicro chassis with sas3 (or sas2) expander backplanes.
 

TeeJayHoward

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Feb 12, 2013
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You can take one of the Supermicro chassis and replace the motherboard with a JBOD card and turn it from a NAS into a DAS unit. I did that with one of my SC846 recently.
 

pchangover

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You can take one of the Supermicro chassis and replace the motherboard with a JBOD card and turn it from a NAS into a DAS unit. I did that with one of my SC846 recently.
Sorry to threadjack but how would you do this?

I recently acquired a Dell C40 (supermicro rebrand) and I'd like to use it as a JBOD enclosure. Would it be as simple as doing a mini-SAS to SATA passthrough?
 

gregsachs

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Aug 14, 2018
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Sorry to threadjack but how would you do this?

I recently acquired a Dell C40 (supermicro rebrand) and I'd like to use it as a JBOD enclosure. Would it be as simple as doing a mini-SAS to SATA passthrough?
Want the ghetto answer or a better answer?
Ghetto answer: Jumper the supermicro P/S connector to be always on(green to a ground on the connector);
Buy a SAS expander or more than one, depending on number of drives to be connected. The Intel is nice as it uses a molex power connector, but I ran one of the HP expanders with a mining PCI slot for a while too. Buy the approproate cables for expander to drive backplanes and expander to external connections. Supermicro has a SFF-8087-dual SFF8088 bulkhead that works for this. (CBL-0352) The HP expander has the advantage of having a SFF8088 connector onboard, so you can avoid above if you aren't daisy chaining.
You may also need to get a fan supply/controller, depending on how fans are connected.
(less ghetto) I've heard of people using a motherboard with IPMI but no CPU/RAM for this as well, but haven't done it. I've personally done/have running the above, albiet with a non supermicro case. I started out with the HP expander, then bought an intel when i saw the right place.
Better approach:
Buy a supermicro PSE-JBOD-CB1/CB2/CB3 JBOD board which acts in place of the power supply jumper and gives fan control. Still need the expander(s), cabling, and so on.
So basic BOM:
1: Supermicro CBL-0352 Dual SFF-8088 to SFF8087 bulkhead with ~0.5m cable
2 or 4x Intel RES2sV240 sas expander or HP expander with PCI mining adapter.
Depending on backplanes, you will need SFF-8087-SATA or SFF-8087-SFF-8087 cables internally.
Means of controlling fans-either SM JBOD board or fan control
The HP only runs sata drives at 3g/s.
SAS cabling can be flexible, assuming 24 drives the intel expander only supports a max of 20, and 16 if you are daisy chaining. (6 ports, 4 drives OR HBA OR expander on each port) The HP will run 32 drives max.
 

pchangover

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Dec 12, 2016
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Want the ghetto answer or a better answer?
Ghetto answer: Jumper the supermicro P/S connector to be always on(green to a ground on the connector);
Buy a SAS expander or more than one, depending on number of drives to be connected. The Intel is nice as it uses a molex power connector, but I ran one of the HP expanders with a mining PCI slot for a while too. Buy the approproate cables for expander to drive backplanes and expander to external connections. Supermicro has a SFF-8087-dual SFF8088 bulkhead that works for this. (CBL-0352) The HP expander has the advantage of having a SFF8088 connector onboard, so you can avoid above if you aren't daisy chaining.
You may also need to get a fan supply/controller, depending on how fans are connected.
(less ghetto) I've heard of people using a motherboard with IPMI but no CPU/RAM for this as well, but haven't done it. I've personally done/have running the above, albiet with a non supermicro case. I started out with the HP expander, then bought an intel when i saw the right place.
Better approach:
Buy a supermicro PSE-JBOD-CB1/CB2/CB3 JBOD board which acts in place of the power supply jumper and gives fan control. Still need the expander(s), cabling, and so on.
So basic BOM:
1: Supermicro CBL-0352 Dual SFF-8088 to SFF8087 bulkhead with ~0.5m cable
2 or 4x Intel RES2sV240 sas expander or HP expander with PCI mining adapter.
Depending on backplanes, you will need SFF-8087-SATA or SFF-8087-SFF-8087 cables internally.
Means of controlling fans-either SM JBOD board or fan control
The HP only runs sata drives at 3g/s.
SAS cabling can be flexible, assuming 24 drives the intel expander only supports a max of 20, and 16 if you are daisy chaining. (6 ports, 4 drives OR HBA OR expander on each port) The HP will run 32 drives max.
Okay so this is what I have right now:

  • Dell CT-040 2U SAN System - 1x Xeon E5540 QC @ 2.53GHz 6GB DDR3 NO HDD +
  • Which includes:
    • LSI sas9201-16e which has 4 x SFF-8088 mini-SAS External Connectors
    • Compellent Dell 102-018-002-c 512mb Cache Pci-e RAID Controller
    • Supermicro SAS836TQ backplane
    • motherboard, cpu, etc

I'd really like to use that supermicro board you're talking about but I guess I need to see if it's compatible with my backplane. I think I'd go with the bulkhead passthrough cables but I'd need a cable to convert mini-sas to SATA once inside to connect to my backplane.
 
Last edited:

kapone

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May 23, 2015
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Okay so this is what I have right now:


I'd really like to use that supermicro board you're talking about but I guess I need to see if it's compatible with my backplane. I think I'd go with the bulkhead passthrough cables but I'd need a cable to convert mini-sas to SATA once inside to connect to my backplane.
That's not what you have. :)

You clicked on the ebay link for the Dell Ct-40 that you bought, but ebay, in their infinite wisdom, decided that since the Dell CT-40 was not "in stock", and linked you to a "similar" item, that was this Supermicro SC847 JBOD. This chassis is about as similar to the Dell CT-40 as I am to Julia Roberts... Ebay is a ****ing joke nowadays, with their supposed machine learning and "AI".

A previous poster mentioned using a Supermicro motherboard without a CPU/RAM in a JBOD chassis...I was the one who started that whole idea...which ended up being a disaster. Doesn't work, please don't do it.

The CB1/CB2/CB3 JBOD boards have nothing to do with the backplane. They will work in any chassis. That said, fan control even with those boards is tricky. Please read up.
 

gregsachs

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Aug 14, 2018
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Okay so this is what I have right now:


I'd really like to use that supermicro board you're talking about but I guess I need to see if it's compatible with my backplane. I think I'd go with the bulkhead passthrough cables but I'd need a cable to convert mini-sas to SATA once inside to connect to my backplane.
The LSI goes in your controlling computer, unless it has a HBA already.
The link is to a JBOD box, is that what you have or do you have the Dell CT-040?
16 devices is one thing, 45 is another!
For 16 devices, I would get one of the Intel RES2SV240 expanders, and the supermicro cable/bulkhead I mentioned above. Then you can choose if you jumper the power supply green-black or get a JBOD board, which the CSE-JBOD-CB2 is roughly $50 usually. I'd try the jumper first, and see what the fans do. (or pull the CPU from the MB, and see what fans do).
Then you need 4 x SFF-8087 to Sata cables to go between the expander and the backplane, and 1 SFF-8088 to SFF-8088 cable to go between the HBA in your server and the JBOD enclosure.
 

pchangover

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Dec 12, 2016
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That's not what you have. :)

You clicked on the ebay link for the Dell Ct-40 that you bought, but ebay, in their infinite wisdom, decided that since the Dell CT-40 was not "in stock", and linked you to a "similar" item, that was this Supermicro SC847 JBOD. This chassis is about as similar to the Dell CT-40 as I am to Julia Roberts... Ebay is a ****ing joke nowadays, with their supposed machine learning and "AI".

A previous poster mentioned using a Supermicro motherboard without a CPU/RAM in a JBOD chassis...I was the one who started that whole idea...which ended up being a disaster. Doesn't work, please don't do it.

The CB1/CB2/CB3 JBOD boards have nothing to do with the backplane. They will work in any chassis. That said, fan control even with those boards is tricky. Please read up.
I have no idea why that linked changed but it was wrong lol. I do have a Dell Ct-040. Can you expand on the fan control issue with the CB1 board?
 

pchangover

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Dec 12, 2016
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The LSI goes in your controlling computer, unless it has a HBA already.
The link is to a JBOD box, is that what you have or do you have the Dell CT-040?
16 devices is one thing, 45 is another!
For 16 devices, I would get one of the Intel RES2SV240 expanders, and the supermicro cable/bulkhead I mentioned above. Then you can choose if you jumper the power supply green-black or get a JBOD board, which the CSE-JBOD-CB2 is roughly $50 usually. I'd try the jumper first, and see what the fans do. (or pull the CPU from the MB, and see what fans do).
Then you need 4 x SFF-8087 to Sata cables to go between the expander and the backplane, and 1 SFF-8088 to SFF-8088 cable to go between the HBA in your server and the JBOD enclosure.
Yea, that link got changed to something I didn't have lol. I do in fact have the 16 bay Dell CT-40.

So the Intel RES2SV240 can be completely powered by molex? That's pretty freaking cool!

Parts list:
  • Intel RES2SV240
  • CBL-0352L-LP
  • CSE-JBOD-CB2
  • 4 x SFF-8087 to Sata cables (16 total)
  • 1 SFF-8088 to SFF-8088
  • Use the LSI raid card in my R730XD to connect them.
I'd wire the LSI raid card with an SFF-8088 to one of the CBL-0352L-LP ports, one of the CBL-0352L-LP SFF-mini-SAS cables go to the Intel RES2SV240, 4 of the SFF-8087 cables go from the Intel RES2SV240 to my backplane. The CSE-JBOD-CB2 gets powered from the dual PSUs, front panel connector attached and 2 of the 4 fans.

Sound right?
 

pchangover

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Dec 12, 2016
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Thanks to @gregsachs I decided to go with this option:
  • SAS2-836EL1 backplane swap
  • CBL-0352L (pass through to connect backplane externally)
  • CBL-0166L (external SAS connection to LSI raid in main server)
  • CSE-JBOD-CB2
This should simplify cabling a lot and I got the 836EL1 for the same price as an Intel RES2SV240.

My only question is for the JBOD-CB2, @kapone mentioned that noise might be an issue. I'm trying to find a good resource on quieting the fans down without a motherboard present. Should I find a decent PWM fan controller to go with the CB2 or do a voltage mod or something? I definitely don't want the fans @ 100%!
 

kapone

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May 23, 2015
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The CB2 will run the fans at 100% only. The CB3 board (expensive!) can control the fans through IPMI.
 

pchangover

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The CB2 will run the fans at 100% only. The CB3 board (expensive!) can control the fans through IPMI.
Well that's unfortunate as I just ordered a CB2 because the CB3 was too expensive. Have you heard of anyone using a fan controller?
 

Aestr

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Oct 22, 2014
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There's nothing stopping you from running a fan controller in the case, but in general you want to make sure it's a PWM controller. Something like a NA-FC1. Either use one per fan or get a PWM splitter.
 

pchangover

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There's nothing stopping you from running a fan controller in the case, but in general you want to make sure it's a PWM controller. Something like a NA-FC1. Either use one per fan or get a PWM splitter.
That's funny because I literally just put the NA-FC1 in my cart. Going to grab 2 so I should be able to run all 5 fans from the CB2 then. Thanks!
 

pchangover

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Dec 12, 2016
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Why not use something like this for temp control?
http://a.co/d/3p5vfy4

Oh, and found this for turning on and off the power supply:

Hardware - Tech|Inferno Forums
That's not a terrible idea for something that can use temperature to control the fan speed but since this is only going to be max 16 disks I think I can control the temp well enough manually with something like the Noctua NA-FC1.

Power supply on/off is taken care of by the CB2 control board in my case.