Table of Contents
The main goal of this design is to use the cheapest parts with the least effort to assemble everything. So you could say this is also Poor/Lazy Man's Storage Cluster!
The area used is 60x60x50 (WxDxH) cm only.
Keep in mind that this is a case not a whole system. I've only factored the price of the pieces used to put the case together.
|Metal table with 2 net-like surfaces||7 KD||IKEA|
|2x Wooden CD rack that fits 35 CDs||2x3 KD||IKEA|
|Plastic drawer mat||1.75 KD||IKEA|
|Rubber grooved floor mat (3mm thick)||1.5 KD for 0.5 meter||TrueValue|
|Nylon Cable Ties (203x3.2mm)||0.5 KD||Family Hardware Store|
- Long nose pliers
- Hammer (or anything that hammers)
In this diagram you see the measurements of each component and how they fit. When we put the disks inside the rack, there was an empty space of 4mm; we took care of that by using the rubber mat, which is 3mm thick on each side, totaling to 6mm, which helps holding the disks and serve as a shock absorber.
The disk rack is made of wood and we have rubber mats inside, so you'd expect for heat to be trapped. Our work around is this:
- Choosing a rubber mat with grooves
- Inserting the disks heads down having the 2.5cm edges touching the rubber
- Leaving space between disks
- Pushing the disks down till touching the metal table
- Installing fans on the lower part of the table, blowing at the disks
Note that I have used Layout #1. Layout #2 was too cluttered and I didn't really think it through properly so I don't know if it's even possible. If you are able to squeeze more than 4 motherboards in that same table (or same dimensions), let me know!
- Assemble lower shelf of table
- Use foot to break back-panel of CD racks
- Hammer the metal pins of the CD racks inwards
- Point the side that has the metal pins towards table surface (keeps wood fragments away from you)
- Tie the rack to the table using the cable ties
- Cut 11 lines (in a group) of the rubber mat
- Attach the rubber mat to a side and tie it down. Do the same for the other side
- If you want to have a separate power supply unit (PSU) for fans, attach it to the bottom of the lower surface
- Put the power supplies in place and tie them (make sure it's touching the metal table)
- Cut plastic mat to fit rest of table area and tie it to the table. Use the nail to punch holes
- Punch extra holes for the motherboards and don't tie the motherboards too hard!
- Tie fans below the disk rack(s) and connect them in serial to a PSU
- Slap in the hard disk drives (HDDs) and hook them to the motherboard(s)
- Powering on
To power on a motherboard, you could either use a power switch (or make one), or enable Wake-up On LAN (WOL) from the BIOS (assuming your motherboard supports it. You'd need to know the MAC address of your LAN port.
- If your motherboard doesn't have a built-in video/graphics card, you'll need to bend the tip of the graphics card you're about to attach
- Almost done. Attach the upper surface and make sure that the rack is facing the opposite side to the one on the lower surface, so that the fans don't hit the cables
Make sure to double check on the HDD cables after attaching the upper surface.
- Jump-starting a PSU
I stripped a cable wrapper that had a metal piece inside it and stuck it in the proper pins. This way, I control the fan PSU using the ON/OFF switch at the back; no need for a separate power switch. Unfortunately we didn't take pictures of that, but here are some references:
- Make them appear as a single storage unit
This can be done through the use of iSCSI. It allows you to expose either each single hard disk or a whole RAID array as a single storage device to another machine over Ethernet. This way you can combine all the disks/arrays under one machine and create a LV (Logical Volume not Louis Vuitton) then the filesystem on top of the LV.
I don't know how to do this on Windows. I can help you do this on Linux though. If you did this on Windows, drop me an email and I'll link your page.
- Use them separately
Well this is a no-brainer: Just assign a different IP for each machine and expose each storage through Samba (on Linux) or share the directories on Windows.
- A mix between the above two
Using iSCSI puts a lot of risk on the data because if one motherboard, or multiple disks fail (in case of using RAID5) then you lose all your data. For good. And since we have such a good history of increasing and managing the storage smoothly (NOT!), we decided to not use iSCSI. Maybe if we had a better history, we'd gone with it.
What we're going to do is keep the existing Samba share and move the Anime directory (2.4TB) to another machine. We then mount the other machine using NFS over the existing Anime directory. Mounting a directory over another is called shadowing.
For this to work properly, you need to create the usernames on all systems with the same IDs, otherwise you'll have a heck of a time with permissions.
Now, the users still access the same old single IP and can still access all data, though distributed cross systems. If a machine's disks died, at least we won't lose all the data.
We don't yet have the 2nd motherboard, so I'll write about this in detail when we get it and do the setup.
/dev/sda: WDC WD10EACS-00D6B1: 27°C
/dev/sdb: WDC WD10EACS-00D6B1: 29°C
/dev/sdc: WDC WD10EACS-00ZJB0: 29°C
/dev/sdd: WDC WD10EADS-65L5B1: 28°C
/dev/sde: WDC WD10EADS-65L5B1: 29°C
/dev/sdf: MAXTOR STM31000340AS: 29°C
/dev/sdg: WDC WD10EACS-00ZJB0: 27°C
/dev/sdh: WDC WD10EADS-00L5B1: 26°C
This is way much better than before! They used to be in the 40's range!!
If you have any questions or comments, let us know. I suggest you subscribe via email when commenting, or leave a blank comment to just subscribe to stay posted on updates when adding the 2nd motherboard.
Good luck and don't blame us if you get electrocuted ^_^'