Ideas for a Storage Enclosure Concept

dasaint

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Hey all,

I wanted to share an idea, and was wondering if someone here might be able to help me find the enclosure i am looking for or at least have had experiences with the enclosures i have been considering.

the idea is to get rid of my Rackmount System long term and make my ESX(i) hosts into something more portable but of course that has a starting point.

My ZFS Storage enclosure for my Media.

My idea is to take a 8 Drive SATA/SAS Enclosure something like a Sans Digital TR8X model that has SAS Connectors on it. Replace the PSU with something better (apparently the ones inside are crap) and mount a Mini-ITX motherboard with 16GB Ram something like this (http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=16622.0) inside the TR8X under the drive trays where there is a HUGE gap. rewire the power switch to fire with the motherboard and make the enclosure quiet.

After that i would remove the SAS plugs on the back most likely and route to a PCI-Express card internally that had a LSI 1068E on it and route that to a VM with 4-8GB ram of the host and be able to host a few other machines on it as well.

The key is i want it silent as much as possible good airflow and a compact case holding 8 drives (adding the mini-itx is just more fun for me)

I have been searching enclosures but haven't had much besides the TR8X pop out as a possibility for the design i want to roll with.

Any ideas or Enclosures others could recommend would be greatly appreciated. i have heard of one Chinese Enclosure that exists however it is not easy to get.

Ideas/Thoughts? Also has to be Cost Effective!
 

hotcrandel

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Have you looked at the Lian-Li PC-Q25? It only holds 7 drives, and only 5 are "Hot-Swap" technically. But it gets you close to what you want...

I've also used the PC-Q08 which holds six drives for a similar application.

I like both Lian-Li cases as you can pick your own standard power supply. The Q25 is a step up from the Q08, in my opinion.

Problem is "Cost Effective" with ITX doesn't really work to well. I ended up going back to mid-size tower. My latest file server build is in a "NZXT Source 210" with a coolermaster 4-in-3 3.5" to 5.25" adapter, for a total of 12 bays and disks.

Using a full size ASUS motherboard that supports ECC for freenas/zfs.
 

dasaint

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Yea i should have mentioned the ITX board/etc doesnt have to be the cost effective part i just meant the case/psu/stuff..

i just dont wanna spend 400 on a case then have to retrofit it more costing me say another 200 to make it right...
 

midnkight

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This is the one i was mentioning about in china, u can get it for about 200 USD but they make it really hard to get your hands on..

This one is my ideal so far just gotta get one!
I hear norco is going to make one. So it more of a waiting game, more then anything.
 

dasaint

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yea i just figured i would reach out to my other [H] Members to see if there was something like that out on the market i just havent found yet.

If i gotta wait then so be it..

Long term is to rid myself of big 3-4U servers and consolidate into either Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX Systems with 16-32Gb ram each node Slap 2 to 4 500 or 750 GB Seagate Momentus Drives with an 120GB SSD and Network Raid them with either some VSA or replication based storage software.

Smaller Nodes Less Noise, portable for moving and lower power with the way Sandy/Ivy Bridges go...
 

pjkenned

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I've already gone through the process of getting quotes on those 8-bays. Really the price is way too high even if you buy 100 of them. You can get unit prices down but shipping ends up being a lot.
 

dasaint

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Thanks for the Nfo Pjkenned... its really sad because these things would be AWESOME to have...
 

pjkenned

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Thanks for the Nfo Pjkenned... its really sad because these things would be AWESOME to have...
Well the current model you see also has a really funky add-in card mounting layout. You basically need a PCIe ribbon to a remotely mounted card that you screw into the frame. Total bummer that it isn't designed to have a generic expansion slot so it could be external facing also.

Really not ideal and I would love it if someone (norco) could make a mATX version also.
 

dasaint

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yea the only thing i would consider was also having a full PSU instead of a 1U thats just added noise.
 

JJ Johnson

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Sounds like you're just describing an eight drive NAS, most of which are just drive bays, a PSU and room for a motherboard built around a low powered CPU.
 

dasaint

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Yes however most of the NAS boxes out there arent really friendly to ZFS volumes. also i have run this as a VM for a long time as it only does my data for Media/Backups. So i want to throw a Sandy or Ivy in it for running other VMs on it with again..

Portable ESXi Host with my Nexenta ZFS setup is the endgoal...
 

pjkenned

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Yes however most of the NAS boxes out there arent really friendly to ZFS volumes. also i have run this as a VM for a long time as it only does my data for Media/Backups. So i want to throw a Sandy or Ivy in it for running other VMs on it with again..

Portable ESXi Host with my Nexenta ZFS setup is the endgoal...
I think a lot of folks are in this bucket (at least a lot of my readers are.) Some are happy to have a NAS box, but if you can go high-performance AND have VMs on the same box, even better.
 

dasaint

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I think a lot of folks are in this bucket (at least a lot of my readers are.) Some are happy to have a NAS box, but if you can go high-performance AND have VMs on the same box, even better.
You would think this would have been a big market for ppl like us...
 

dasaint

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For building portable mass storage devices?? LOL!
well i dont know about you but i know a lot of people who are building home NAS devices for things like ZFS and sadly we dont have much of an option unless we want a server rack.
 

JJ Johnson

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well i dont know about you but i know a lot of people who are building home NAS devices for things like ZFS and sadly we dont have much of an option unless we want a server rack.
Are you now saying that you can't find a non-rackmount case that holds 8 x 3.5" drives and a motherboard?
 

dasaint

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oh i can find it but add a backplane for those drives and make it hold an itx board with PCI express card and be portable enough that starts getting difficult..
 

JJ Johnson

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Exactly. I have no problem with such a box - it might be kinda nice, actually. I just think that there's virtually no market for such a thing. Not many people have a need for portability in an 8 drive storage server.
 

pjkenned

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Are you now saying that you can't find a non-rackmount case that holds 8 x 3.5" drives and a motherboard?
So I'm getting a Synology DS1812+ review unit this week and can use that as an example.

If you look at that class of 8-bay NAS devices, they are generally well tailored to the application. Small motherboard plus hot swap drives. Those units from QNAP, Thecus, Synology, Drobo and etc. are great at being NAS devices, and at being small group web servers, but you aren't going to run a more sophisticated server off of them.

You can roll your own, but it will be larger and you will spend a ton on hot-swap cages. You can get something like a FD Arc Midi but that is not hot-swap. You can get a 8-bay 2U but that is a lot deeper and has loud cooling.

I think I have a post draft saved on this idea...
 

dasaint

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if you are planning on using that Synology with vSphere 5.1 be aware its not compatible yet :p
 

dasaint

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Well mine all Spinoff from the fact i do work at VMware and home labs are king for some of us TSEs

i want to passthrough that PCI Express card (most likely a 1068E card) to my VM like im currently doing and then pass off that off as Backup Storage and my media front end....

I want to build a mini-portable ESXi configuration i have been running rackmount for a while now and we (wife and i) plan on moving possibly into smaller digs.. well i need the rack to go and a more portable/silent configuration to go in its place.

long term goal is to have the storage in a portable interface so if ihave to grab and go i can...

i want to build ESXi hosts that span outwards not upwards.. more hosts say with I5-I7 Sandy/Ivy configs in mini-itx form for portable hosts

i want my storage to be a host as well becaue i dont use things like DeDup and what not for the backups and what have u (14.5TB of data is still good for me) so i only use 1 core and 4gb ram in it building just a box for it seems almost wasteful on power... so beef it up a little have one of those i5/i7 setups in there and can host a few more VMs in it.

Long term goal for me at least porable lab for moving and if we end up in a 2br config its more silent for the office :)
 
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dasaint

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So just to let you all know i just bit the bullet and paid $250.00 for one of the U-Nas Cases as seen earlier (Chinese site)

found a broker that would buy it for u and ship it to you for a fee.

Wanted the case bad nuf i just bought it..

If anyones interested in my purchase and wants to know how to do it after i get mine i would gladly share the tale :)

 

dasaint

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yea i thought about doing something with the sans digital model but i realized it would be more work and money than i wanted to spend hell i woulda paid 3-400 in the case i got this one for 250 and its more angled to what i wanted a self enclosed nas

all in all ill pay around 500 for the case/board/chip/memory to make it run stock ZFS OI platform on it move my drives from the VM over to this one and be done with that huge carrier

Next part will be then to take those hosts and downsize em.... maybe mini-esxi boxes in the long term... need something small quiet and portable!


its a real shame they havent gotten 32gb mini-itx intel configs up yet...
 
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