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Project DataWh0re - 26 Drive, 27TB Tower Server

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Most hardware is 2-3 years old from my old server, this build is simply to expand the drive capacity/ease of access and use:

 

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620

MOBO: Asus M4A79XTD-EVO

RAM: 2GB

CARDS: 2x Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8

Windows 7 w Remote Desktop access for any maintenance it needs

 

I'll warn everyone, I'm not running unRAID, I am running DISPARITY. I'm not here to shove Disparity at anyone, simply hoping there are people who can see see the hardware aspect of this and appreciate it or get some ideas from it for their build. Disparity is simliar to Unraid but a little bit different as it allows you run it within Windows via command promp. Check out Disparity HERE

 

I got over the drives showing individually pretty quickly when I discovered Link Shell Extensions, it's a windows extension that allows you create unique junctions (beyond what the typical "Junctions" program does.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BUILD!

 

I originally (3 years ago) started with a 3TB Raid 5 setup on my main PC but quickly realized my need for more storage space, I ended up building a dedicated server/storage tower using an Azza Solano 1000 that would hold 12 Disks (I later mounted the OS drive in the bottom of the tower to make it 13 in total). About 8 month ago, I finally outgrew the tower and added an external 4 bay enclosure. At the point I had only 1 spot left in the enclosure I realized I needed a more permanent solution for storage, something that would last YEARS instead of months.

 

I scoured the internet and all the various storage forums looking for solutions that might suit my needs. People recommended Norco constantly but I have never really been a fan of Norco's design (flame suit on).

 

I finally settled on a Sharkoon Rebel 12, a German made 22-Bay tower using 4-to-3 adapters. They are very hard to come by but there are still some that pop up on eBay now and again. One thing I didn't want with my server was those annoying 4-to-3 adapters that in order to take 1 hard drive out you had to remove the entire adapter, unplug all drives and take the bay adapter out, then you had access to the drive that needed to be removed. I will NEVER buy any case that functions in this way, it is the largest annoyance I can think of.

 

I searched for a 5-to-3 solution and wasn't about to pay $110+ x 4 to outfit my tower with enterprise 5-to-3 bays from companies like Supermicro, etc. I found a company ( http://www.moddiy.com ) that had 5-to-3 bay adapters with hot swap tabs, but lacking the hot swap microboard. This meant they were dirt cheap and allowed me to pick up 4 of them for just slightly over what 1 enterprise 5-to-3 adapter would have cost. 

 

I just saw in a thread here, someone posted a EU site that sells them as well for $15+ cheaper per day, but I'm not sure how much shipping is at this point ( http://cybershop.ri-vier.nl/5-bay-mobile-rack-module-hdr5-p-104.html )

DMHDC-5-3__04101_zoom.jpg

 

I decided that I would REVERSE mount these bay adapters and have all power/sas cables connect in the front of the tower, also allowing for drives to be pulled out through the front after popping the front cover off. It wasn't going to be easy, I knew this case needed the top cover shaved/cut away to allow for a bay adapter to be installed but didn't realize that I would also have to cut the bay adapter since I was reverse mounting it, it's a scary thing when the top lid is an entire inch away from going on properly, you question if your vision was going to fail pretty quickly lol. After some aggressive cutting and filing, everything fit! I was going to make a build log, but after realizing the amount of patience I would need to do this build, I quickly opted against it.

 

Here is what I was dealing with, an Azza Solano 1000 with 13 drives (there are 3 inside an external 4 bay not shown here), as you can see it was quite a mess and removing a single drive meant I had to disconnect 4 power/sata adapters/fans, remove the bay, and then access the hard drive. It was a nightmare! This was about as good as cable management allowed within the case given the drive setup.

 

1azzamess.jpg

 

2azzamess.jpg

 

Sharkoon Rebel 12 arrives, 1 week from Germany, not bad at all.

 

3rebelbox.jpg

 

4rebelbackside.jpg

 

I wasn't a fan of the typical grey/nude interior color that this case was painted, my painting skills and patience have always been severely lacking, I opted for Flat Black because 1) it looks awesome 2) it hides many paint flaws that would otherwise show up on a glossy surface.

 

5paintedandassembled.jpg

 

A large part of what was going to keep cable clutter down, would be custom Sata Power cables, it gets rid of the the ribbon effect that normal PSU power connectors have when hooking up multiple hard drives in a custom space. These are all 24" long Sata Power extension cables, and Sata power connectors/caps from http://www.performance-pcs.com . They are very easy to make, just take your time and be sure that no cables are crossed, and that the empty space is on the "L" side of the sata adapter and you'll be fine. One word of caution to those attempting this, it requires a great amount of force using a screw driver to force them into the crimp section, you CAN and WILL snap and I/O board if you put the connectors into your drives and attempt to use them as "holders" (ask me how I know!). I snapped the main OS drive's I/O board in half, somehow it bent back and works 100%, I wish I had a picture of my face for this thread when I did that. I highly suggest plugging the connectors into the drives and lightly pushing the cables on so that you can score them to get the spacing, then unplug them and do it on a hard service, like a work bench.

 

6drivesinwithcustomsata.jpg

 

Here are the SAS cables routed behind the drive tower and through holes in the front, I had to grind the front panel of the tower down on the inside so there would be room for the cabling for those wondering.

 

7sassatapluggedandlabel.jpg

 

Here is the finished product! The PSU is from the previous build and is the one thing that really inhibits this from being as clean as it possibly can be. When/if it dies I will definitely pick up a Corsair fully modular with black braided PSU cables, but in the meantime I think I will live with it, it is a huge step up from what I previously had in terms of cable management/ease of replacing and adding a drive.

 

8casefinished.jpg

 

9mobocloseup.jpg

 

Hope you enjoyed and weren't too bored :D

 

If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer!

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Very nice read. I like what you did with the drive cages (mounting them in reverse). I too have been dealing with those crappy coolermaster 4in3 drive cages and each time I have to swap a drive... it takes forever, and I have to leave the server lying on the floor open like that until the swap is done.

 

I was considering the 5in3 approach to hotswap drives and found the pricing to be offputting. If I was going to spend that kind of money, I could go the Norco route. I did find those drive cages from moddiy, but by that time I had already convinced myself that I was going to get a server rack and grab two Norcos and not have to worry about finnicky details. So even though I spent way more than I would have had I gone with those expensive 5in3 drive cages, I am happier (it was the principle of it all).

 

I think I might have to borrow aspects of your build for when I put together a small server for my cousin. Thanks for posting.

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Very nice read. I like what you did with the drive cages (mounting them in reverse). I too have been dealing with those crappy coolermaster 4in3 drive cages and each time I have to swap a drive... it takes forever, and I have to leave the server lying on the floor open like that until the swap is done.

 

I was considering the 5in3 approach to hotswap drives and found the pricing to be offputting. If I was going to spend that kind of money, I could go the Norco route. I did find those drive cages from moddiy, but by that time I had already convinced myself that I was going to get a server rack and grab two Norcos and not have to worry about finnicky details. So even though I spent way more than I would have had I gone with those expensive 5in3 drive cages, I am happier (it was the principle of it all).

 

I think I might have to borrow aspects of your build for when I put together a small server for my cousin. Thanks for posting.

 

Thanks  :D  Those 4-to-3 cages are such a nightmare, I will never EVER buy a case with them again. I really don't understand why manufacturers can't use the quick-pull tabs inside their bay converters instead of screws. I guess for most people they build the PC once and never touch it until it's time to build a new one or upgrade some components, but that really isn't an excuse given how cheap 5 sets of those plastic tabs cost at the manufacturing level.

 

Good call on doing what makes you happy with it, otherwise you would have just spent money on the drive cages and still not been totally satisfied. I've never liked the Norco look/style/rack mount look of things personally but I can understand why so many people like them due to their ease of setup/operation with the trays.

 

Good luck to you with your cousins build! You'll probably find there is more of a case selection if you are keeping the number of disks reasonable and not getting into 12+. The main difference I noticed with this case versus others that I have and was looking at, the motherboard is mounted super high, right up in the top of the case, with no top fan. This case is no taller than my Antec 1200 rig, but it has so much more room vertically on the motherboard/psu side of things. Most motherboards aren't mounted at the top of the case, generally 3-5" from the top which eats up a lot of room. That's where room for the 6 drives come in at the bottom in this case, pretty simple fix for something most manufactures overlook.

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Thats an awesome build. Compact, easy to swap drives, cheap! I like it much better than the Backblaze build.

Where did you find your sata power splitter cables?

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Great job..

 

I Like the reversing of the drive bays. Can you get the front panel back on or is it permanently "open"?

 

I could see that being an issue for some people with small hands/paws in the home.

 

 

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Another question, what did you do with the dvd flaps on the Sharkoon Rebel 12. Did you bend them?

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