Suggestions for a 4x3.5" SAS/SATA cage removeable chassis ?

Tcalp

Member
Oct 15, 2020
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Hey Guys,

I'm considering putting my hand together at building a custom 8 bay mini-itx NAS chassis by re-using parts from older server equipment. I am currently looking at the HP ML350e series as it has a 4xLFF removable cage, however they aren't readily available in my area, thus shipping would kill the deal.

Looking for suggestions on other chassis with similar configurations, from looking at the ML350e for example, it would be quite easy with the right tools to modify the top bay to take a 2nd 4xLFF cage/backplane. Equally open to a server with a single 8xLFF cage/backplane (that isn't 4 wide on the 3.5" disk width), but that seems to be a pretty rare beast.

Suggestions ?
 

Allan74

Member
May 15, 2019
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What kind of performance are you expecting ? How 'jenky' are you prepared to make things ?....lol

Although this may not be the most popular route (on this forum of ludicrous Enterprise @ Home gear-heads), I have been buying up old Sans Digital TowerRaid eSATA boxes for pennies on the dollar (8-bay hotswap units for $20-25 USD) and gutting them for the drive/sled chassis portion and depending on application, either using the supplied/included SATA extender backplanes (1:4 similar to SAS), connecting direct to each drive in a 4U chassis once 'trimmed' or (in the future) making custom backplanes using plexiglass and SATA/SAS adapters (shown below).

While the extended SATA performance leaves much to be desired in terms of writes, it serves my HD Plex files for playback just fine.
Direct plug SATA removes the hotswap capabilities, but still leaves me with a workable chassis for the drives/sleds.
Custom backplanes (if you want to call them that) require more patience than I currently have, as well as time..

Alternatively, as you will see in the pics (link below) you can literally throw a mini-itx setup onto the floor of the Sans Digital TowerRaid box and connect 2 onboard SATA ports to the boxes expanders and run THAT. Convert the eSATA into internally extended SATA.

People simply don't want these boxes due to the all-in-one Storage solutions coming out now from Synology and QNAP etc. They are giving these things away, especially if their 'controller pc' dies and they switch to a notebook. This box is useless to them.

This is an example of boxes that I have got in the past (not my site)

SATA-SAS Connector
 
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Tcalp

Member
Oct 15, 2020
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Although this may not be the most popular route (on this forum of ludicrous Enterprise @ Home gear-heads), I have been buying up old Sans Digital TowerRaid eSATA boxes for pennies on the dollar (8-bay hotswap units for $20-25 USD) and gutting them for the drive/sled chassis portion and depending on application, either using the supplied/included SATA extender backplanes (1:4 similar to SAS), connecting direct to each drive in a 4U chassis once 'trimmed' or (in the future) making custom backplanes using plexiglass and SATA/SAS adapters (shown below).
Yes, that's a great option, though I don't see any available on eBay sadly. I am essentially looking to do the same, have a small form mini-itx based 8 bay NAS. I just recently ended up picking up some Gen 7 HP Microservers, I think I've sorted out how to get 7 3.5" disks + 1 SSD cache disk running.
 

Tcalp

Member
Oct 15, 2020
46
19
8
Alternatively, as you will see in the pics (link below) you can literally throw a mini-itx setup onto the floor of the Sans Digital TowerRaid box and connect 2 onboard SATA ports to the boxes expanders and run THAT. Convert the eSATA into internally extended SATA.
Have you done this btw ? I'd love to see some photos of how/where the mini-itx board is mounted.