I'm planning to get a second hand HP Proliant DL380 G4 and setup it as storage server, probably using NexentaStor and setup a ZFS system. But now I wonder does DL380 G4 can be convert or support SATA harddisks? SCSI harddisk will not be enough space and too expensive for me to play with. Thanks.
The conversion of a SCSI chassis DL380 G4 to the SAS chassis is possible, but not at all practical. It requires a bezel change, backplane modification, a new drive cage, a Smart Array P600 RAID controller (or SAS/SATA HBA) and will be severely crippled in performance. In addition, it can only accommodate 2.5" small-form-factor 1st generation SAS and SATA disks. You're also limited to 12GB of RAM.
The resulting face of the server would look like:
This model was sold between 2004 and 2006, and bridged the transition from legacy technologies like parallel SCSI and PCI-X to SAS/SATA and PCIe. This was also an early-generation 64-bit capable (EM64t) CPU.
I would not recommend this system for NexentaStor. NexentaStor will work in a limited capacity if you use this as a SCSI unit, though. It's really a bad idea to start any project on a 6 year-old server.
A better solution would be to find a G5 or greater ProLiant server that comes with native SAS/SATA functionality. If you must use the DL380 G4, you can find used 3.5" SCSI hard disks in capacities up to 300GB.
I have managed to alter a DL380-G4 server entirely to support 6x 2TB SATA Drives. Running RAID-5 - Performance is decent too.
I made use of:
Removed the SCSI Backplane, installed the power supply into the PCI-X bay (with excellent insulation) and then ran the cabling to the drives.
Obviously modified the SCSI Drive bays to cater for the SATA connections etc.
The only drawback is the additional power cable supplying the "hidden" power supply.
Thanks From Tim