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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Converting a Server’s SCSI Backplane to Use SATA Drives | The Virtual Venesect

Converting a Server's SCSI Backplane to Use SATA Drives

I've wanted a huge network-attached storage box for years. Ever since I laid eyes on a small form-factor SnapServer that my employer demoed 10 years ago, I envisioned one of these on my home network. I wanted a single repository for all my media files and other data I wanted to share between my computers. Reality, and the availability of enough cash to fund the dream, kept me from realizing it.

I eventually landed a SnapServer 4100, a nice little 1U-high rack mountable box that could expand to give me just over 360MB of RAID-5 storage.  The on-board chipset could theoretically handle drives larger than 127MB, but a glitch in the OS meant that the proper driver to enable the chipset was missing. The OS could theoretically be modified to accept the larger drives but the manufacturer would have to do it—and they had no incentive to steal sales away from their newer, larger-capacity servers. Many people on the ProCooling forums have spent time analyzing and bemoaning the situation but none of them apparently have the chops to dump and disassemble the OS, then patch and recompile it for the benefit of all. (That includes myself, though I've often thought about poking around to see what I could do.)  I gave up on going that route when I determined that the total expandability of the unit with such a patch would only be 1 terabyte. I wanted more, much more—ideally I want a RAIDzilla, but I don't think I'd ever use that much disk space.

I set my sights on piecing together a suitable server. I found a place selling surplus Intel SE7501WV2 motherboards and bought one. It's more than powerful enough to be the heart of a NAS—it has dual Xeon 3.1 GHz processors, takes up to 12GB RAM, and comes with dual gigabit Ethernet ports. It also features a PCI-X high performance expansion bus that will accept a hardware RAID card. The board has on-board RAID support and originally came in two versions, one with SCSI RAID and the other with IDE RAID.  Mine supports SCSI RAID but I knew I wouldn't use it as the drives are too expensive and available drive sizes are too limited.  At first I thought I'd get a generic multi-disk server chassis but realized I really needed the chassis designed for the board. I purchased a used Intel SR2300 from eBay and thought I was in business. It offers seven hot-swap disk bays and dual redundant power supplies. The hot-swap bays and backplane are SCSI to match the motherboard. I had the basic framework to build a server, but the supported drive type was incorrect. I was determined to make it work. Somehow.

 Inspiration Strikes!


Wow! Now that's a Hacking Project! Literally! He Hacked and Hacked and Hacked... until it all Fit!:)

Converting a Server's SCSI Backplane to Use SATA Drives
Making SATA drives work with a SCSI backplane - Hack a Day
Converting a Server's SCSI Backplane to Use SATA Drives | The Virtual Venesect
Snap Server / NAS / Storage Technical Goodies - Pro/Forums
The RAIDzilla project
modding IDE-disks into the Intel SR2300-chassis :: projects :: geek technique
18in Right Angle SATA Cable with LP4 Adapter |
Data - Power SATA Combo - Cpu Stuff
The Server Room: Intel Communities

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