Creating a cheap direct attached storage chassis for the cluster.

Well after much contemplation I have opted to move the two storage disks and SSD into a custom quasi direct attached storage chassis. In this configuration each host will have external 3x SAS/SATA 3.5bays, connected via 3x 7pin SATA. The four backplanes will be arranged on a 1u sliding tray shelf on their sides. Filling up roughly 80% of the 19 inches. The blank space will be used for something eventually. The void space behind the backplanes will hold a HDPLEX 160w+ACDC internal adapter, providing power to all four backplanes. Hopefully zip ties, super glue, and plastic bonding stuff will suffice. However i might need some kind of ratcheted nylon tie down.

Maybe go Lego brick kung-fu action, and Kragl the shit out of it. Darn, i named it…Lego it is 😉 Joker hostage situation with Batman and SWAT responding. The Lego blocks could, in imagination land, transform the front of the 4us as a building side. So pulling some of the blocks exposing room sized cavities, which could be lit with an LED, and be one part of the hostage crisis (comic book page). Batman climbing up a SATA cable bundle, representing an elevator shaft, to get to Joker in the penthouse suite. Sourcing figures won’t be easy/cheap (need 10+), but blocks not so much. Plenty of time to sketch out the structure, and find out which scene bad idea is not not bad.

— Penn-Elcom R1290/1U Sliding Rack Tray w/Fixing Points
— HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX Power Supply
— HDPLEX Internal 120W AC Power Adapter
4x ICY DOCK DataCage Classic MB453IPF-B 3 x 3.5″ HDD in 2 x 5.25″ Bay SAS/SATA

This should give a slight bump to the available power for each host, and allow much needed elbow room when modifying the VSAN storage. There should also be a significant temp drop for each node, sys/cpu etc. If your reading this you might have been asking yourself why not have just gone with a 1u server chassis with 4x 3.5″ bays? Well the answer is simple “Depth”. I don’t have it, since i wanted cable arms for each host, and a manageable cabinet. Not even mentioning the noise generated from proper backblane cooling systems. I choose these “MB453IPF-B” drive bays, because I didn’t want to convert four internal SAS ports to SFF-*, rather just go streight 7pin <--> 7pin. Another reason was the detachable fan, and capability to provide dual 7pin SAS. The fan can also be easily replaced with superior Noctua fans.

The vertical space is pretty costly, resting just under 4u’s. As of this moment (022615) the UPS is drawing 297W of 900w, or 33%. Of my random checks its never been seen over 36%, and goes as low as 30%. Runtime on batteries ranges from 18-25min. The PDU is not metered so unfortunately I’m limited to UPS and host level sensors. I do plan on implementing the SAS drives before a custom DAS comes into play. Mostly because I want to see what these HDPLEX’s can handle, and the temp/power numbers would be interesting.

3 thoughts on “Creating a cheap direct attached storage chassis for the cluster.”

  1. I changed a considerable amount to this project. The Power Supplies were traded for two HDPLEX 250W units. Dense Aluminum chassis enclosure, optional 4-SATA -> MINI SaS External (x4), power supply backed by aluminum blocks, cable routing, front mounted power switches, 16″ x 6″ aluminum finned heatsink on-top, and many more fine tuned tweaks.

  2. Thanks for dropping the GEO restrictions! Pretty large-scale stuff!

    My somewhat smaller project involves adding 4 extra drives to my Microserver using some parts I had to hand. I originally intended to use a PicoPSU, but the HDPLEX looked more versatile.

    I followed a link from Amazon here and, having purchased an HDPLEX 160w unit to power a 4 bay IcyDock I wondered where you mounted the power rocker switch. Did you put it across pin 16 +17 aka ‘the paperclip PSU test’ or do you have a better solution?

    I was going to use a laptop soap on a rope as the HDPLEX Internal 120W AC Power Adapter doesn’t seem to be available from my supplier here and one of these has an inline rocker switch so I was considering just shorting the pins and using that.

    I would be grateful for any suggestions you might have.

    1. Yes I do have rather complete solution for this. But hard to explain without photos. I made a post with more detail here “Proper Power Supply power on/off trick” . You can sorta see what i have done in the testing photos on the latest DAS post. In those shots the power switch has not been added to the 2-Pin splice. Also stay away from any PicoPSU, everyone of them has eventually died, and or even taken out the device it was powering.

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