I have a Dell R610 server, which has 6 2.5" drive bays. These all came empty. Generally, when I see pictures, all of the drive bays contain either drives or empty mounts.

At first, I thought it would be unnecessary to have unused mounts. However, I occasionally think that issues such as static electricity or dust might cause problems because of the empty space, necessitating empty bays being filled.

I have tried several google searches, but I get no results. Can anyone disprove or back up my worries?

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    If aesthetics are unimportant, a workable drive bay filler plate may be cut from cardboard (mind out for fibre dust) or rigid plastic (available in a variety of colours). – Criggie Jun 10 '19 at 5:24

It sounds like you bought a repurposed server. The previous owner probably took out their disks and had them destroyed, leaving only empty hot-swap bays.

On new servers those are are filled with either empty drive-trays (and you would place your drive in the tray to populate the slot) or more likely with filler blanks (and the vendor sells you drives ready to use as a single unit already attached to their version of hot swap tray)

Plenty of places sell both filler blanks and drive trays.

As far as I know it is not immediately harmful to leave hot swap bays empty , but it will result in a sub optimal airflow and cooling and you may get some dust build up in any of the exposed connectors which might be something to worry about when you do want to populate those empty slots.

For aesthetics and airflow, fill them. (And blanks usually cost only a couple of $ € £ )


dell filler blank

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    Two more reasons airflow is helped by having the blanks in the drive bays. They allow only a small amount of air to pass through them, ensuring the bays with HDDs in them get their fair share of the air flow. Having some air go through each of the HDD bays, full or with a blank, ensures the total air flow through the bays is enough for the rest of the equipment behind the bays irrespective of how many HDD you have. So if you're going to cover the empty bays with cardboard, poke a few small holes in each bay cover to try and get roughly equal airflow through each bay. – BeowulfNode42 Jun 10 '19 at 7:28
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    In my case, I couldn't find any blanks on Amazon any cheaper than the mounts I usually use, so I just went ahead and bought those. – Redwolf Programs Jun 11 '19 at 21:25

I'm going to add another answer as my other one had information which was incorrect which was my fault for not taking note of the server that you have.

If the server has hot swap bays, then yes, they need to be filled as there would be an open hole in the case. This is also the case for PICe slots that are empty. For example, if you were to remove a NIC, you'd want to put the plate back in place so that hole isn't open. This would even be the case with a workstation

However, some servers have drive bays that are internal whether it's all of them or some of them. Those can be left empty with no problems.

Basically, if the drive bays are hot swappable then they need to be filled. If they are internal then they don't. This is the case whether it's a server or a workstation because what happens is that it can cause problems with airflow and also allow dust to get into the case. Those things aren't the end of the world but they are both something to avoid as they can lead to problems.

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    You haven't explained what exactly the problem with "open hole in case" is. It might influence the air flow a bit and cause additional dust, but all in all neither of those things are that problematic. – Voo Jun 9 '19 at 22:30
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    @Voo I had this in my previous answer and I've edited my current answer to show the problems that might happen. – Nasir Riley Jun 9 '19 at 23:06

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