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Hacking more storage into your rack server

Hacking more storage into your rack server

Posted on Oct 17, 2009 by Paul White

Even though I will be running remote backups, I wanted to make sure I had a little more redundancy than just RAID 10 and remote backups.  So I took it upon myself to figure out how to cram an extra hard drive into an already crowded Server.
SuperMicro Rack Server

The Server is a SuperMicro 6014-32 I bought off ebay.  It is one of the few servers that features 4 hot swap drives.  This is perfect as I was able to setup the server in RAID 10, giving me 1 logical Drive that would have the speed of a 2 disk RAID 0 setup, and the redundancy of a 2 disk RAID 1 setup.  But I have never been a fan of running a box off a single drive.  So I needed to try to cram another drive into the box somewhere.

After looking over the server I noticed there was some dead space above the first hot swap 3.5" drive.  This space looked like it just might fit a 2.5" laptop hard drive.
3.5 inch hotswap SAS drive
Notice the air vent above the drive.  Some might argue that this area needs to be open for airflow. but I felt there would still be plenty of room when I was done.

Western Digital 320 GB 7200RPM laptop hard drive
Here you can see how big the space is.  Looks like plenty to fit my laptop hard drive.

SuperMicro extra space above hot swap tray
Here you can see the space is free of wiring or any other obstructions that might prevent this hack from working
SuperMicro server with extra laptop hard drive
Here I am holding it in there to verify that it will fit the space.  Next I will need to mark some holes for drilling

drill markings on SuperMicro server
I figure two screws should be enough to keep this snug and from rattling around.

drilling into rack server
I used a drill bit that was just slightly bigger than the mounting screws.  After I was done I was careful to not leave behind any shavings
Laptop drive mounted inside rack server
Here you can see how I mounted the drive using the hard drive's factory mounting holes.

Laptop drive mounted inside rack server
Bottom view of laptop hard drive mounted in the rack server's case just above the hot swap tray

Laptop drive SATA cables inside rack server
And finally run the SATA and power cables

The drive I choose for this hack was a Western Digital Caviar Black 320 GB 7200 RPM 2.5" hard drive.  I could have gone for a larger drive but I didn't want it to lag behind the SAS drives too much.  So I choose speed over capacity.  Here is how the little guy benchmarked
Wester Digital Black 7200 laptop hard drive benchmark
Something else to think about is I have space on the right side of the case where I could mount another drive like this.  Maybe in the future SuperMicro will add some mini 2.5" hot swap ports for these drives, so guys like me don't have to hack them into the case.

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