We've got an old server with SCSI hard disk. The server crashed last week and it isn't exactly known what hardware component is damaged. Since the server is due to be retired anyway we don't want to repair it but just restore the data from the SCSI drive.

We expect that the hard disk itself is not damaged but the problem is that we don't have any other computer with SCSI controller.

What are my options to restore the data?

Aside from commisioning a professional data recovery service I have in mind just to buy a cheap SCSI controller card (for example I can find an IBM Adaptec PCI W-Ultra SCSI Controller for 10 Euro, for sure less expensive than a recovery service fee), plug it into a PCI slot of some desktop PC, connect the SCSI hard disk and copy the necessary data from the disk onto the PC. I am not sure though if that will work and what technical specifications I had to follow, given that the SCSI hard disk is pretty old (a 18 GB IBM disk from 1999), if the OS on the PC side matters (it's Win XP, the server had Win NT) or other specifications on the PC side (the PCI slot?), etc.

Thank you for help in advance!

1 Answer 1


It's always nice to see a new serverfault user that's already got the right answer in mind :)

Basically what you suggest is spot-on, there are some SCSI-to-USB devices out there (I think Adaptec did their own at one point) that may make it a bit more portable but essentially that's exactly the way to do it.

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    Only thing to watch out for is the interface on the disk, parallel SCSI we can probably take for granted but since it's a server disk it might have a hotswap (SCA, 80pin, upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/…) interface rather than a 68pin connector. Make sure you've got a cable, terminator (and if it's SCA, cheap adapter) and you're set.
    – James Yale
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:25
  • @JamesYale: Our SCSI disk has a connector like the one at the bottom of your uploaded image (I'm not sure if that's the 68 or 80 pin version) and the cheap card I've found is this one: recommendations.ebay.com/… Cable exists (in the crashed server) and the connector seems to be the same on both sides of the cable (the server had an onboard SCSI adapter). Does this all fit together?
    – Tom
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:45
  • @JamesYale: Apparently it's 68 pins. I could have had the idea earlier just to count the pins :)
    – Tom
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:48
  • @JamesYale: Or do I have to count the 12 additional pins right from the main slot? But those 12 pins weren't connected to a cable at all.
    – Tom
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:53
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    @Tom, you can ignore those extra 12 pins, they're just jumpers for modes, SCSI ID etc. If the drive matches the bottom image then it's a 68pin unit, and the controller you linked and a regular UW internal cable (as you can salvage from your old server) should work great.
    – James Yale
    Jul 31, 2012 at 8:45

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