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My company wants to deploy some extremely cheap SuperMicro systems that are basically just 1U servers with 4 HDDs that apparently you can stack and link together? I don't have an exact model number but apparently you can get these things for $300-$400 a piece and set it up as a NAS.

It seems as though these things must have some sort of drawback to have storage which is so incredibly cheap. However I'm not familiar with them at all so I'm hoping some of you might be able to share your experience with SuperMicro with me.

Thanks in advance.

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To my knowledge, they don't have any storage systems that are 1U. They do have a 4x3.5" hot swap 813M case that could be used to do that, but, lacks a motherboard.

lists their available storage units which has their smallest being a 2U. Nothing I've seen that is 'linkable' falls into their 1U form factor unless someone is using 1U chassis with FC to build their own - in which case I would really suggest just getting a larger case and putting additional drives in it as needed.

As for Supermicro in general, we've used them since 1999 almost exclusively and while we were hit by the capacitor problems in 2001, they stood behind their products and extended the warranty on our gear an additional 3 years. They have a very large installed base and we've not had any problems with compatibility for Linux or Windows and their build quality is very good. If you have a product number, you might post that. We've used everything from their 1U to blades to their twin systems and have a few of the 3U and 4U 'storage' cases.

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Yeah, I've been looking at these servers.. The linkable thing surely is a software level technology... Supermicro are rock solid servers, IME. – Tom O'Connor Aug 31 '10 at 21:17
Those 813M SuperChasis are what they're talking about I'm almost certain. I guess they're simply wrong about them being linkable. So you haven't had any performance issues? Good to hear, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. – ThingsToDo Aug 31 '10 at 22:04
@ThingsToDo, you could add an internal SAS/SATA to SFF-8088 with bracket to those; and use them as a 4 drive external case. But that's additional expense; and you'd need a server with external SFF-8088 ports to connect them to. You could also add SAS Expanders and daisy-chain them. But I wouldn't recommend any of this with that particular setup. – Chris S Sep 1 '10 at 15:34

We've had a few problems with the IPMI firmware on our supermicro systems (ipmi interface gets wedged and will not respond till power is physically removed and reattached. Since we use IPMI for remote power cycle, it kind of defeats the whole purpose, requiring warm hands anyway...)

Other than that, they perform well, and are fairly reliable.

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