Ways to expand storage with SFF

Discussion in 'Portable & Small Form Factor' started by jpw007, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    Hi All,

    Have a Dell Optiplex 7050 SFF as my dedicated server/nas sytem that only streams plex and keeps some backups.

    Recently the 6TB WD Red drive I had in it with all my data has shit itself and is completely unrecoverable. 6 months warranty left so have lodged an RMA, but when i can get it to show under ubuntu (normally run Win10) it's showing as a 2TB, can't access and it was getting scanned for days but no in the end.

    Anywho...It was non-essential data like my entire plex library, backups of some photos and i think nothing else but since i broke the #1 rule of backups I thought i'd investigate ways to expand storage realiably.

    Internally it's got a 128GB m.2 SSD for OS, and a 3.5" drive bay that the 6TB WD Red was in.

    As far as expansion is concerned it's got one spare Sata port but not spare power...I figure a sata power splitter could be used to add another drive but i dont see or know how to add something else.

    Hoping for suggestions in ways i can expand storage and maybe not run into the same issue again. I've got some external drives but 2TB max so obviously can't image a 6TB between those 2, and i got a SFF initially so that it was compact.

    Outside of potentially upgrading the m.2 drive (which wont yield much storage benefit) i'm stuck for ideas. Maybe replace the 3.5" with a 2x 2.5" adaptor? Is there anything else i can do??
     
  2. power

    power Member

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    externals are probably going to be the easiest and cheapest.
     
  3. OP
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    I was thinking it might end up being that way, it's just that since i've normally got it mounted on the underneath of my desk i wanted to avoid external for fear of them old spinning rust buckets falling and causing a mischief. I've done it with one of the 2TB's but it wasnt plugged in at the time thankfully.
     
  4. power

    power Member

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    i have a laptop that serves needs in my home and external drives seem to take quite a beating and as you said "non-essential data". Alternatively a generic enclosure and just swap the drives out as needed.
     
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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  6. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    power splitter is fine, mine came stock with one because it came from dell with the dual 2.5" adapter.

    Buy a larger HDD? They come in pretty big sizes these days.

    Can also get a optical bay to 2.5" adapter too.

    Also make sure to backup any important data.
     
  7. wwwww

    wwwww Member

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    Have you considered external enclosures for your disks? All you need is PCIe slot.

    You can stick a 9202-16e in there. This will support up to 400 SAS/SATA disks by daisy chaining external enclosures. You can attach up to 61.44TB SAS SSDs to them so with 400 ports that's 24 petabytes. If you require more just add more cards.
     
  8. miicah

    miicah Member

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    NAS an option? More expensive, but you can do so much more with one.
     
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    HDD size itself is fine and a larger wont assist with redundancy at all?

    It's a slim opitcal drive included not the ol 5.25", do they make adaptors for that? I didnt realise so i'll check bc i dont need the cd drive

    Tbh i've never heard of and an not sure i'd be able to use that due to size restrictions? Tbh adding 2x 4TB external 2.5" drives seems the only viable option atm as i can at least fit those on the top of the case as it's mounted to the inside rear of the desk

    Perhaps. As in purchasing a dedicate NAS? I was hoping this would serve mostly that aspect + be a solid Plex server to convert the streams for any devices that need it (it's got a decent enough Core i7 iirc. I didnt think a 'proper' NAS would be able to do that at a competitve price but NAS specs are honestly a bit above my knowledge. I could very easily re-appropriate this PC to the kids if need be. Would they be compact and are they easy to manage?

    Since i'm running win10 pro on this i just locally RDP in and do things that i need. I'm decent with PC's and stuff so this setup's been easy for me to setup and manage credentials for accessing the drives when mapped as a network drive (since i dont want kids to access it). A few years back I had a patrio dual disk NAS, but it wasn't that great as it turns out and was difficult if it had anything i needed to adjust whereas this win10 box has been so easy for me. Maybe it was shitty propriatary stuff. I've been time poor so Win10 has again been so easy to setup and manage since it's familiar where as if i moved over to somehting else and used say FreeNAS it's a whole new learning curve that i'm confused about and i thought with my current setup it'd be easy to manage and upgradable if i needed it...Though as you can tell redundancy has been an issue that i havent been able to address and it's cost me...

    I guess if
    - it's easy to swap drives
    - I dont need to run the same model/size at once (if one fails or i want to upgrade with a bigger one)
    - Easy to manage and restrict sharing etc
    - Setting up redundancy is easy
    - Can easily convert files on the fly for plex streaming

    Then i'm very much open to the idea. Win10 box has all of that except the redundancy atm. For plex really i guess it just needs to handle 1 stream @ 4K i'd be really happy. Plex isn't used heaps as it's mainly used to archive media for occasional play.
     
  10. miicah

    miicah Member

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    Yeah ideally, but as you have already discovered storage is a big issue in SFF. Synology would be the ones to look at, they are very user friendly.

    If you wanted to roll your own look into openmediavault and unRAID. You could easily put together a cheap PC for a few hundred and install one of those OS.
     
  11. asho444

    asho444 Member

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  12. OP
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    Maybe the best option would be to bin the case and mobo, then get a new case with inbuilt drive caddy for expandability, m-atx mobo, and psu? I guess then i can get a mobo with wifi and as many slots as i need. Wifi not necesary as will likely be ethernet anyway but an option.

    No idea on itx or m-atx cases so that'll be a pain :lol:
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  13. wwwww

    wwwww Member

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    Just be careful with USB, although USB3 is pretty fast, it runs through a bandwidth restricted bus. A few disks on the same bus will slow things to a halt. Best to go SAS though SAS enclosures aren't known for being small. If you need space, then external SAS to external SATA will give you performance.
     
  14. OP
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    Noted thanks. I don't anticipate speed being much of an issue purely as they'd be there for duplicating internal drives on a weekly basis (with something like beyondcompare).

    I'm also wondering if maybe i should just add some drives to my main rig and save more costs? Case has slots for 3x 2.5" drives that i could just put 4TB ones in. I dunno. Trying to keep it to a minimum for now i guess so once the WD drive is returned then i'll keep it how it was for a little while till i role something out
     
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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  16. Hater

    Hater Member

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    I got an old Netgear ReadyNAS with 4x 2TB drives in it you can have for like $100, it yields 5.2TB of fully backed up readiness. Only has Gigabit ethernet though so dunno if that's speedy enough for streaming
     
  17. SSJ4

    SSJ4 Member

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  18. OP
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    Gigabit non-issue for me. More after ability to use Plex when desired. Any idea what model# mate? I'd be keen to give a search and see if i can throw in say 4x 6TB etc, or better yet 4x 4TB with some redundancy since i'd only want 8TB max anyway for a while to come. I can get around plex by mapping my main rig to it via network drive and using that is the plex library but the PC running the server.

    Had considered it but cost is crazy for decent storage amounts (also lack of Sata ports on this board i.e. 3 max)

    $470 for a 2TB 860 evo m.2 sata, and no possible internal redundancy but could still run the external drives though to get 6TB for $1400 i'm better off replacing the whole sff with a solid nas unit it seems
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  19. Hater

    Hater Member

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    nah, if it could handle more than 4x2TB drives I wouldn’t be getting rid of it heh
     
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    jpw007

    jpw007 Member

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    After a bit of research and fiddling today with Unraid, i've decided to get a Fractal Node 304 + suitable ITX mobo + PSU.

    Should allow me to run a m.2 drive as a cache (already have as OS drive in the SFF windows nas so no cost to do so) and up to 6 sata drives (Cheap ITX are only 4 sata ports but pricer allow 6...maybe hold off and just get a cheap one for a few years first).

    That way i can throw in 2 drives now, have some redundancy and then later can add 2 or 4 more. Seems pretty ok so far and i'm sure it'll be better than running win10.

    I've setup unraid atm with just 2 external drives. No parity though since that doesnt seem to work with these but shouldnt be an issues when i roll out internal drives
     

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