The Pursuit of Homelabs, Part 4 – Parts A-Plenty

2x Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM HDDs

My server has drive bays for up to 6 3.5″ HDDs (SAS or SATA), but given my current storage needs, I chose to start a little smaller with only two 3TB hard drives. For now, I plan on running each of these drives as their own logical volume, skipping any striping offered by RAID. I won’t be keeping anything here that I can’t lose (not that RAID is a backup solution), and I’m pretty confident in the drives’ quality. Listing here.

4x 3.5″ Drive Caddies 

In planning for future expansion, I decided to pick up an additional 4 drive caddies. They were a pretty good price on eBay (listing here), and I wasn’t too sure if the remaining bays would come with covers since my R710 listing said that blanks weren’t included.

Dell PERC H200 RAID Controller (and 2x M246M SAS-A SAS-B SATA Cables)

This caused me some grief, both in planning and when I got my hands on all the parts. In my last post, you can read about the my discovery and elation that RAID controllers can be added to systems (which seems a little silly in retrospect). In researching this specific kind of RAID controller, I read that I needed to make sure I got the right cables. “OK, sure, I’ll pick up one that come with cables” I thought to myself, not realizing where each cable would go. I got this combo (listing here), and thought everything would be great.

As it turns out, I picked up the wrong cables. The two included Int-MS-1M4S cables that came with the RAID controller were intended to connect the card directly to four individual SATA drives each. The issue is that when I connect a drive to my server, I’ll be slapping them into those caddies I mentioned earlier, which slide in the front of the case and connect to what’s called a “backplane”. The backplane has the power and SAS/SATA connections already in place, and has two sockets that accept cables from the RAID controller. What I needed instead was two M246M cables, link here. Oops. After getting all the parts I needed to get started, I’d planned on spending all weekend getting things set up until I ran into this issue. After scouring the online catalogs for major computer stores and contacting everyone I could think of who might “know a guy” in driving distance (thanks, fellas), I ordered two of the M246M cables and will instead be working on homework so I can play with my new toys during the week, guilt free.