I’m wondering if a) I can get a measured opinion about this and b) if I can get help finding solutions to my project(s). Note: I am an enterprise and NAS solution newb and that’s putting it mildly. I am learning via firehose here, I know. But this is my project for this year and hope to learn a lot as I go along.
First, some context:
I found a Backblaze server on Craigslist for $200. It has all the hardware minus drives (boot drive not included either). I know this thing is designed almost exclusively for serving up storage. However, I noticed that there is space for eATX mainboards and there are additional spaces for other expansion cards assuming I were to replace components. This made me think, “Hey, it shouldn’t be all THAT difficult to swap out parts and do something bigger/better, right?” Well as evidenced by me writing all of this, it is clearly not that simple.
Below are the specs that I can dig up as the seller couldn’t find his data sheet so forgive me if there are any gaps. I can probably boot it up at some point and get you more specifics, for instance I don’t know the CPU or RAM speeds, but I am waiting on a VGA-Displayport cable so I can boot it up.
Supermicro X9SCM-F https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C202_C204/X9SCM-F.cfm
Intel i3 CPU
3x Rosewill (I think) SATA Boards - PI49230-2X2B - Similar to this, same chips on board same number of SATA ports: https://www.newegg.com/rosewill-rc-230-sata-iii/p/N82E16816132046
9x CFI Group CFI-BXX52PM - 5 Port Multiplier Backplane with 2x Molex and 5x SATA Data+Power ports
230w Emacs PSL-6850P PSU with a custom male 20-pin and 24-pin power output for powering the backplanes
6x 140mm fans
This is the part I am unsure about. I have a lot of ideas in need of a lot of solutions so I’ll take them in order of priority:
- Backplane retrofit
- I’ve been reading about why 45drives moved away from backplanes to direct wired and it makes me want to replace the backplanes in case of failure. See: https://45drives.blogspot.com/2015/03/our-biggest-design-decision-direct.html
- I need recommendations on how to replace these backplanes, if possible. I know that Linus and co. did it for their Storinator and discussed retrofitting it to remove their backplanes I just don’t know what parts they used or how they went about it as they don’t list parts or process the in the video description, and really, why would they? If Anthony is on these forums, would you chime in?
- SATA->SAS conversion
- Not sure what card I need as it would need to be able to support port multiplication at the backplane end assuming that #1 cannot be done easily.
- Plex Server
- Using UNRaid with docker containers for Plex:
- I want to be able to handle at least 4-6 4k transcodes depending on a given destination device, Byte my Bits on Youtube shows that a Ryzen CPU and a Quadro p2000 could do this handily, however…
- …in my scenario, if I wanted to do this I would need:
- a 16x PCI-e slot (current MB only has 8x slots)
- a new PSU (current PSU has custom pinned connectors, see spec list)
- This one is a doozy as I do not have any clue how to power 45 drives with a single PSU without having custom cables made based on the original. Any recommendations for supplying 45 drives power either via direct connection or via the existing backplanes which need 2 molex connectors to power up to 5 SATA drives.
If you guys need more please ping me and I’ll send more pics and try and provide more information. Here’s a Google Drive link with images. I couldn’t get the upload to work here for the post: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1VNxYwic5RW-H47zCBkqbV34mOnADjai9?usp=sharing
Please note: I KNOW it would probably make more sense to make a separate server to run Plex rather than shoehorn it into this device, but it would be more effective for my home situation to try and do it in a single unit.