I've got a budget of £1000, but really I'd like it for less than that. I want to set up a 20TB+ storage system for a project I'm working on that will use roughly 15TB, and the rest for storing photos, music, movies and games. Not all 20TB will be used immediately and I already have some disks, so leave the price of HDDs out of that £1000 budget.

Ideally, I'd like it to be rack-mountable too as I'd like to get a server rack and put all my computers within it (getting rack-mounted cases for my desktop machines too - but that's unrelated).

I've noticed that you can get some affordable mass-storage systems, but as soon as they're rack-mounted, the price goes up 100x. Is there a reason for this other than that you can sting a business more than you can a home user, and rack-mounted would usually be used by business?

Regardless, that's what I want to do. Is it possible or totally unrealistic? I have limited experience setting such up, so links to tutorials, any advice, etc, would be great.

The plan is for the storage system be accessed by another server (not included in the budget) probably running FreeBSD, though other free OSes are welcome (I only have experience with FreeBSD and Linux, though).

Many thanks.

closed as off topic by jscott, gravyface, pauska, Antoine Benkemoun, Chopper3 Jul 25 '11 at 13:16

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  • You could look at Drobo? – Jacob Jul 25 '11 at 13:01
  • Looks good and it's definitely a possibility. Would much prefer rack-mounted though, but if nobody delivers then it's a definite possibility - thanks :) – Tim Jul 25 '11 at 13:02
  • If a cheap rack-mounted server case will work, check Google Shopping (or equivalent) for "Norco". Cases with up to 24 SATA bays in them, in 4 rack units, currently in the range of 300-400 USD. No power supply, motherboard, or RAM included, however. – Mike Renfro Jul 25 '11 at 13:15
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    realistically, i think your budget is roughly 8 times too small to do this properly with any sort of confidence that the data is safe. – Sirex Jul 25 '11 at 13:36
  • Sirex, whilst data safety is important, this is by no means a critical service that I'll be running. Sure, I don't want to lose all my data, but not having 99.999% reliability is not crucial. I'm well aware that my budget is low, but that's all I have to work with. Maybe in future I'll improve things, upgrade things, etc. Some/all of the HDDs will be mirrored too, potentially, and important stuff backed up elsewhere. – Tim Jul 25 '11 at 13:45

There's probably two challanges, the case, and connecting the disks.

For the case, you can get a 20-bay SAS/SATA hotswap 4U case for around £350 - Google for RM420. You might be able to go cheaper if you don't want hotswap, but I've no really looked around that area of the market.

As for connectivity, onnecting them to the motherboard: take a look at this for some inspiration: https://serverfault.com/questions/237687/cheapest-way-to-connect-20-24-sata-ii-hdds-in-a-budget-storage-server. In a nutshell, you probably want a few 8- or 16-port SATA cards and then the required cables to connect them up. 3 of http://www.supermicro.com/products/accessories/addon/AOC-SASLP-MV8.cfm would do what you wanted quite nicely.


For this kind of money, you'll just get a NAS box with no disks (you can buy smaller, populated NAS boxes - but not with the 10+ bays you'll need for this kind of storage). If you hunt around there is hardware you could use within your budget - unless you're familiar with setting up large systems it's probably a lot simpler to go for a box with eSATA connection or NAS controller.

But as you've already discovered, as soon as you want anything which is rack mountable, the price rockets.

You might try:



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