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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Over the past few months I have been trying to figure out what I want from my home server. While thats simple enough the hard part is determining the hardware to meet that requirement and the case in which it will live in.

When I saw the 4U Rackmount Server cases Norco offered (RPC-4020 and RPC-4220) I thought they were expensive until I evaluated the Antec Twelvehundred case and added up the cost of the backplanes which then made the Norco Cases very affordable. Deciding which one to purchase was the next challenge.

However when I saw the Backblaze Storage POD it occured to me that I should tackle building my own server case similar to their design and for the past couple days I have been playing around with a case layout to accomodate 30 Hard Drives and multiple redundant powersupplies with more cooling fan capacity then what they have put into their units.

Anyway check out this link => http://blog.backblaze.com/2009/09/01/pe ... d-storage/

So over the next few weeks I will be playing with my CAD program designing a similar case but with better rail structured and hard drive support then what they have and possibly cooling fans above each bank of hard drives mounted below the case cover.

I have already found a supplier for the CFI Backplane Boards used in their case and will order my first this week to mount in an EX470 enclosure to begin the conversion to a Port Multiplier for one of my existing EX470's much like what erail has already done.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:12 pm 
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Comp1962 wrote:
I have already found a supplier for the CFI Backplane Boards used in their case and will order my first this week to mount in an EX470 enclosure to begin the conversion to a Port Multiplier for one of my existing EX470's much like what erail has already done.


That's great, how did you do it. Are they reasonable? I would be interested in one.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:30 pm 
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I'm interested in the supplier for the backplane boards as I'd like to have one built for a new PC I'm building.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:42 pm 
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The supplier I found for the CFI-B53PM backplanes is Storage4Mac and they are listing for $54. Here is the link to their site => http://www.storage4mac.com/accessories.html

I found their site last night so I have never done business with them but according to the BOM on that case they list the CFI-B53PM Backplane but list it for like $42 but maybe because they purchase large quantities they get a deal.

I will be ordering one this week to have it when I receive the EX470 to convert to a port multplier although that backplane has 5 ports on it.

Good Luck, I hope the information on that site was useful. I know it caught my eye and now the obsession is setting in so tomorrow I will be digging through the scrap metel to see if there is enough to build my enclosure.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:53 pm 
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The CFI-B53PM Port Muliplier (PM) Backplane is the 5 port unit which may or may not fit in the MSS.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:57 pm 
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erail wrote:
Comp1962 wrote:
I have already found a supplier for the CFI Backplane Boards used in their case and will order my first this week to mount in an EX470 enclosure to begin the conversion to a Port Multiplier for one of my existing EX470's much like what erail has already done.


That's great, how did you do it. Are they reasonable? I would be interested in one.


I have not done anything yet. As far as converting the EX470 like you have that will happen soon. As for the case well I am working on the layout as we speak. The site I posted was to show you what I saw and the engineer in me began to think and now its an obsession. So what I am doing now is drawing out some of my ideas on paper which is what I always do then I begin drawing my plans on CAD and then play move things around. After I am done with playing move the components and am happy with everthing then it will be time for fabrication. Since I am going to be using sheet stock from the scrap pile at work the costs will be somewhat minimal and if there is not enough to work with then I will get picky about the metal and guage I chose to work with and will make use of the fabricators at work to help me out.

So my case will be custom made here in the USA but some of the fabrication will be done by Chinese people at work before they head back to China by the end of the year so should I lable it Made in America or Made in America but fabricated by the Chinese?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:01 pm 
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erail wrote:
The CFI-B53PM Port Muliplier (PM) Backplane is the 5 port unit which may or may not fit in the MSS.


Yes I know and I am hoping to modify the EX470 case to accomodate the board. If I am wrong and can not make it work there then I will have the 1st of 6 for my new server so its not a waste of funds. One never knows until they try. I thought of taking one of my existing port multipliers apart to move over to the EX470 but why do that if you can find a backplane that will work. Since I am sitting here just ripping DVD's I have lots of time on my hand.

Thanks for your concern! :encore:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:03 am 
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Amazing idea!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:52 pm 
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I just orders the CFI-B53PM Port Multiplier (PM) Backplane from http://www.storage4mac.com/accessories.html. As I mentioned before I am going to try to retrofit this in an EX470 and convert it to become a port multiplier and if I can not retrofit the thing then I will have the 1st of the 6 cards needed for my DIY Server Project. Atleast I will get to play with it.

Now that Backblace case is huge. I began looking for scrap metal at work but the stuff we have is way to heavy for me to work with. Then a file cabinet caught my eye and I began to think what if you convert a file cabinet to house a server and after all you just open up the drawer and it all become accessible its just the wire runs, ventilation and lower leg support to keep the thing from tipping over when you open a drawer. Still its just a thought process.

Concepts like this is not unusual look at what Donavon West did when he made and now sells homeserdors.

Check it out => http://www.homeservidor.com/

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:24 pm 
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I would be very interested what the throughput would be.
Specially during a rebalance, as you would have a 3gb port divided by the number of drives portentially halved as you are both reading and writing to the same group of drives.
so thats (3gb/5)/2 I think that comes out around 300mb-600mb optomistically very similar to a usb ext drive.
so you might get away with playback of a DVD movie but a Blu-ray would probably crunch.

You may want to do some stress testing before plunking down a bunch of money on port multipliers.
Though I think we all do this now with our rosewills and etc... esata boxes, and blu-ray is fine on them.

Ok never mind me I will just sit quietly over here, very cool project though I will watch closely.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:43 pm 
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Can I ask, why not just fabricate the BackBlaze case? If you have access to sheet metal fabrication, shouldn't be too bad. They have already done the design work for up to 45 HDD's... Just a thought :)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:22 pm 
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I thought the blackblaze case could already be purchased... (some assembly required)

http://www.protocase.com/

For those not familiar with BlackBlaze: http://blog.backblaze.com/2009/09/01/pe ... d-storage/


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:51 pm 
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Yes you can purchase case as mentioned by ymboc. I have been toying around all week with various ideas. One idea was to use a file cabinet but it was not long before the double walls began to bother me. Then I thought of those mobile file cabinets where the top lid came off providing access but they were not large enough for some of the ideas I am playing with.

The one issue I see with the Backblade case is drive vibration and they added some rubber I believe around the drive and I believe on the top cover added something else to help secure the drives. I was not quite comfortable with that so I began to look at other ways to install the drives and easily access them. I ordererd a Sans Digital 5 Bay Hard Drive Rack from New Egg to take a look at. It comes with a fan mounted in the rack but the drives get inserted backwards leaving the SATA/Power connections faceing out. Sort of makes it difficult to use a backplane but I want to look at the rack to see what if anything I can do with it to secure my drives and make them easily accessible. Next week the Rack and the Backplane will arrive for me to play with plus I ordered another backplane to look at thats used in an HP Server that actually costs less but I am in an evaluation mode.

This weekend I hope to visit a few used office supply stores to look for a steel cabinet similar to one we have at work which has ample space to install what I am contemplating but if I can not find one at a reasonable price then I will fabricate my own case but I need to put a lot of thought into this to keep the costs down, to make it easy to work on so its as I said before a process that will take sometime. Once I come to terms with the case and start fabrication I will be happy to post pictures for those interested.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:52 am 
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With all of the time and effort you're expending, you could just get one of these 50 drive Chenbro cases.


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