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360 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 119720 11-Jun-2013 11:47 Send private message

I have been lusting after the Norco RPC 4224 case.

It is a 4u rack mounting case with 24 hot swap drive bays up front for just $US400.

I cannot find any in New Zealand and shipping and tax will more than double the price. Does anyone have any idea as to where I can get one or something similar here?


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780 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 834078 11-Jun-2013 11:52 Send private message

Wow, a person after my own heart!  I too have been looking for these cases in NZ, or even better an SGI SE3016, which are only about $150USD (but of course double that for shipping).

I have come to the conclusion that unless you can find it on Trademe, or from one of the traders who deal in server hardware, you are going to struggle.

I have decided to either 1) Pick up a case when I am in the USA; or 2) Just buy something like this http://pconlineshop.co.nz/pcshop/product_info.php?products_id=367819

In NZ we are very poorly served for ex-server hardware.  May I ask what it is for?  Is it a home system?



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 933448 13-Nov-2013 19:29 Send private message

I have an update on this:

I rather went off the idea of the Norco after reading some reviews. The connectors that mount onto the drives are all soldered onto one large backplane. (The backplane has slots in it to allow cooling.) It seems that it is not unusual for one of these chassis to arrive with one bay already out of service because of a problem with the mounting of the relevant sata receptacle on the motherboard.

I cast around for a while and had been about to commit to a completely different solution (see below) but then I found a Sun server in a 4U rack-mount chassis on trademe for just ten dollars.

So now, I am going to strip the chassis back and try to work out how I can fit 24 hot swap bays in it. I will post progress updates here.

My alternate route?

I found some 4-bay esata external docks. http://www.oricotech.com/product/0/13/ORICO-6648SUSJ3

They have a single esata connector and they include port multiplier functionality.

My plan was to use a large tower case with 9 internal 5.25" bays, fill the bays with hot swap trays and then stand 4 of the external docks on top of the case connecting them up with esata going to a pair of 2 port esata cards. I have tried it with one dock and FreeBSD recognises the sata port multiplier and can see 9 internal drives and 4 drives in one dock so the principle seems to work OK.

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  Reply # 933489 13-Nov-2013 20:41 Send private message

try procase. no idea what they charge or who they sell via these days: http://procase.co.nz/IPC/sas/jbod.html?su_session=1151291036&cgr_id=1010




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536 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 933516 13-Nov-2013 21:10 Send private message

interesting...what would something like this cost as a complete unit...but without the hdd's?




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  Reply # 933525 13-Nov-2013 21:38 Send private message

be interesting to hear how this all goes, im looking at getting a 24 disk case at some point, for my storage server.. running out of holes to shove disks into at this point..

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  Reply # 933535 13-Nov-2013 21:47 Send private message

hio77: be interesting to hear how this all goes, im looking at getting a 24 disk case at some point, for my storage server.. running out of holes to shove disks into at this point..


same,got disks scattered everywhere.
what options you looking at?





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  Reply # 933567 13-Nov-2013 22:29 Send private message

Your cheapest option in NZ is to go to Mikipro, they have a number of ex-lease 3u supermicro units with 16 bays (3u) albeit without any SAS expander. I'm not sure if I would go for a unit that size without a SAS expander TBH, the extra cost of the RAID card wouldn't make the savings worth it.







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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 933621 14-Nov-2013 04:50 One person supports this post Send private message

Zeon: Your cheapest option in NZ is to go to Mikipro, they have a number of ex-lease 3u supermicro units with 16 bays (3u) albeit without any SAS expander. I'm not sure if I would go for a unit that size without a SAS expander TBH, the extra cost of the RAID card wouldn't make the savings worth it.


I would not go for a raid card. I have been running FreeBSD with ZFS for some while now and as far as I can see, it is way better than traditional raid in hardware or software. (I am concerned more about robustness, flexibility and cost rather than outright performance and it does it for me.)




360 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 58


  Reply # 933946 14-Nov-2013 15:45 Send private message

Zeon: Your cheapest option in NZ is to go to Mikipro, they have a number of ex-lease 3u supermicro units with 16 bays (3u) albeit without any SAS expander. I'm not sure if I would go for a unit that size without a SAS expander TBH, the extra cost of the RAID card wouldn't make the savings worth it.


I think that my plan B (with the esata docks) is a lot cheaper than anything the Mikipro would offer.

If it works, my plan A would be cheaper still.


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  Reply # 933984 14-Nov-2013 16:18 Send private message

jpoc - just remember than eSata is a SHARED bandwidth method, whereas SAS (i.e. mini-Sas etc) are DEDICATED bandwidth.  Also eSATA is very very picky on host adapter/chipset compatibility - I have been there and never quite got it 100% working.  Plus 4 x 4TB drives in a RAID array are going to saturate an eSATA connection.  But the solution is cheap.

A few other options I looked at:

  1. HTPC Case - Some of these come with rack-mount kits, and space for 2 of the 5 x 3.5" drive caddies.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, the SGI unit is the best and cheapest way to achieve the goal (if you exclude the shipping it from the US part)
  3. I have looked at server hardware but often the backplanes are SAS and dont work nice with SATA drives

In the end, the best solution I have come across is to buy 2 3U case from Jaycar (they come in ABS and metal) and either form a bracket to attach drives to (non-hotswap) or load it up with hotswap bays.  You should get 12 drives if you place them vertically.

How important is the hotswap part?  I always found this made the solution far more complex and expensive.  Do you plan on hot-plugging drives a lot?



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 934598 15-Nov-2013 18:39 Send private message

timbosan: jpoc - just remember than eSata is a SHARED bandwidth method, whereas SAS (i.e. mini-Sas etc) are DEDICATED bandwidth.  Also eSATA is very very picky on host adapter/chipset compatibility - I have been there and never quite got it 100% working.  Plus 4 x 4TB drives in a RAID array are going to saturate an eSATA connection.  But the solution is cheap.

A few other options I looked at:

  1. HTPC Case - Some of these come with rack-mount kits, and space for 2 of the 5 x 3.5" drive caddies.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, the SGI unit is the best and cheapest way to achieve the goal (if you exclude the shipping it from the US part)
  3. I have looked at server hardware but often the backplanes are SAS and dont work nice with SATA drives

In the end, the best solution I have come across is to buy 2 3U case from Jaycar (they come in ABS and metal) and either form a bracket to attach drives to (non-hotswap) or load it up with hotswap bays.  You should get 12 drives if you place them vertically.

How important is the hotswap part?  I always found this made the solution far more complex and expensive.  Do you plan on hot-plugging drives a lot?


eSata is not really shared bandwidth - the port multiplier in the 4 way eSata docks is shared bandwidth. It is not an issue for my application and in any case, with FreeBSD/ZFS the way I am using it, data accesses are scattered all over the place and I can very easily arrange that no ZFS vdev has more than one component part on one sata port multiplier. (Yet another way in which ZFS beats RAID.)

I think that you are confsing eSata and portmultiplier because there should be no software/driver issues with eSata. To the host, eSata is the same as Sata but slower. The issue is with port multipliers as often used with eSata and then, it seems to be a problem largely with broken OSes such as windows. I have plenty of motherboards with chipsets that support port multiplier and yet they will not work with windows because the MS code is broken. Install a sane operating system and off you go with no worries.

Hot swapping does not really matter to me but tool free swapping is essential.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 934605 15-Nov-2013 19:10 Send private message

More progress:

I just stripped out the Sun V440 unit. Took a while as I had to drill out a load of pop-rivets and slice through a flange that was spot welded onto the side of the case. The end result is that I have a very solid and rigid 4U rack mount case all for just ten bucks minus whatever I can get by putting 8G of DDR ram onto trademe.

I like it so much that I bought another one. If I can shave a few mm of the top and bottom of the bezels on each cd-rom sized hot-swap unit, I can get 12 in each rack case.

It would have been too easy if the Sun backplane had standard PC mounting holes. Given that it supports PCI cards and has the ATX standard set of 7 PCI mounting brackets, you might have hoped but no such luck.

I have a small PC case. It takes an ATX mobo but is as small as. I have measured it up and it will fit so I will take some tinsnips to the case and remove the front part so I just have the parts that will support the mobo and IO brackets. I'll put the PSU in the other 4U case to balance any thermal issues and that should be good to go.

If anyone is interested, I will post some photos. There are still some more of these server units on trademe.

536 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 934659 15-Nov-2013 21:59 One person supports this post Send private message

jpoc: More progress:

I just stripped out the Sun V440 unit. Took a while as I had to drill out a load of pop-rivets and slice through a flange that was spot welded onto the side of the case. The end result is that I have a very solid and rigid 4U rack mount case all for just ten bucks minus whatever I can get by putting 8G of DDR ram onto trademe.

I like it so much that I bought another one. If I can shave a few mm of the top and bottom of the bezels on each cd-rom sized hot-swap unit, I can get 12 in each rack case.

It would have been too easy if the Sun backplane had standard PC mounting holes. Given that it supports PCI cards and has the ATX standard set of 7 PCI mounting brackets, you might have hoped but no such luck.

I have a small PC case. It takes an ATX mobo but is as small as. I have measured it up and it will fit so I will take some tinsnips to the case and remove the front part so I just have the parts that will support the mobo and IO brackets. I'll put the PSU in the other 4U case to balance any thermal issues and that should be good to go.

If anyone is interested, I will post some photos. There are still some more of these server units on trademe.


Yes please,photos would be great







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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 936878 18-Nov-2013 19:38 Send private message

OK, here are the first few photos.

This one shows the unit as received from trademe. It is a Sun v440 server unit. As mentioned above, it cost me $10.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 936888 18-Nov-2013 19:47 Send private message

jpoc: OK, here are the first few photos.

This one shows the unit as received from trademe. It is a Sun v440 server unit. As mentioned above, it cost me $10.



not sure if its just me, can only see 1 photo




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