The Great Rack Migration – D1518

The Great Rack Migration – D1518

So after a number of years labbing, I decided it’s time to graduate to a rack. This is my series of posts documenting the migration.

I deal with a lot of storage in my lab, and a huge focus has always been keeping the lab as quiet as possible. This meant I deployed everything in tower cases.

While this goal of “as quiet as possible” has been realized, what’s also been realized is a mess.

A huge mess.

This was a good day after a cleanup:

And this was the results of that cleanup:

the results on a bad day

So maybe it’s just me growing older (and my hearing going a little), and having a desire for a bit more organization, but recently I decided to bite the bullet and get a rack, the Startech 25U adjustable rack to be exact.

The original home

The first server to be migrated was a trusty old D-1518 fileserver in a U-NAS case.


I will say, that U-NAS case is pretty nice. It’s all rubberized and has a nice premium feel to it. The inside of the case is pretty tight, and I threw the fan block from the original SYS-E300-8D case to keep the CPU and HBA nice and cool:

u-nas guts

The New Home

The new home for this server was a Supermicro CSE-826 case.

so much room for activities!

The first hurdle presented itself shortly after pulling the HBA. The 2U case only takes half-height PCIe cards, and my bracket was full-height:


Fortunately, by some miracle, I managed to track down the shorter bracket in a box somewhere:

short bracket

The U-NAS looks a little sad when empty:


The Issues

No build of mine EVER goes off without a hitch. It’s the curse of being a Murphy.

Some of them, I can plan for:

  • The backplane of this server is SAS2. My HBA is SAS3. So I made sure to have a SFF-8643->SFF-8087 cable on hand.
  • The backplane of the server is an “A” backplane. This means it has internal breakouts. The short explanation here is that I need at least 3 SAS ports for all 12 bays to work, and I only have two. So I made sure to order an Intel SAS Expander when I ordered the case.
  • There wasn’t going to be room for the SAS expander to plug into the motherboard. So back to the old “powered riser” trick, which I made sure to order.

Some of them though, I did not plan for. Like the Flex-ATX motherboard being way too short for this case. That mean the 24 pin power and fan cables were all too short:

too short

I actually had a 24 pin atx extender on hand from another project, but I had to wait for a few days for some four pin fan extensions to arrive:

atx extender

The final issue I had was that the powered riser took a molex connector, and based on where I had to place the SAS expander, there was no way in hell that a molex connector would reach. So I had to order a molex extension cable as well.

Build complete

Once all the extra cables arrived, the server finally went together smoothly:

Complete server

Notice the rockstar placement of the SAS expander.

The final piece of the puzzle was that no matter what I did, the CPU ran VERY hot. So I used the old trick of placing a fan on top of the heatsink (picture was from when I did it prior).

Fan on top of CPU

Finally all racked up:

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied. It’s a little loud, but not terribly. And this is a server that’s not powered on full-time.

To be continued on the D-1521.

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