DIY JBOD external enclosure?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fridgeymonster3, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. fridgeymonster3 macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #1
    Long ago I filled up the internal storage capacity of my Mac Pro. Since then, I've accumulated 4-6 internal hard drives that are now just lying around my office unused. I have an older computer case lying around, and I was wondering if anyone here had built an external enclosure that plays nice with Mac OS X?

    I have no need for RAID or to build a NAS. I just want to be able to slap the SATA drives into the old enclosure, get a motherboard, supply, cables, and then connect the box to y Mac Pro either via USB 2 or ethernet. Is that possible? I basically just want a DIY JBOD external box. How would I go about doing something this simple?

    Thanks for your help.

    MOD: Feel free to move this anywhere you see fit.
     
  2. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #2
    an old computer that uses sata, has ethernet and a copy of freenas?
     
  3. fridgeymonster3 thread starter macrumors 6502

    fridgeymonster3

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    #3
    I wanted to avoid freenas because then I have to buy ram and a cpu. Also, I don't think freenas plays well with CCC which I probably would use for a few of the drives as extra backups.
     
  4. Tesselator, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #4
    How about this:
    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-eSATA-Drive-Docking-Station/dp/B004I6OCRO

    It's USB 3.0 which is USB 2.0 compatible and then later if/when you ever get USB3 it'll also go fast. :D

    There are also 2-drive ones and some companies also add card reader multi-functionality to them.

    This seems like a cheaper way to go than you're thinking. Although the idea you have in mind can work just fine too - but costs more.

    You can connect two computers up through USB or via NIC no problem. No special software needed. (If by USB you need a special cable tho.)
     
  5. deconstruct60, Mar 27, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #5
    Conceptually if just got a SATA port multiplier/multplexer backplane then all would have to do is power the backplane and the drives.

    Something like

    http://www.cooldrives.com/cosapomubrso.html

    That appears to present like a eSATA port exerntally. You'd need a eSATA connector card to talk to that backplane. That's probably the bigger hurdle is finding a eSATA (or SAS) card that is compatible with a eSATA/SATA/SAS port multiplier that fits in the old case.


    Nominally if the old case has a CPU etc in it then can just export all the drives as individual volumes.


    connecting the two boxes via Ethernet pretty much puts it into the NAS status if just do a simple export. The other way would be to load up iSCSI drivers on Mac and find something to export the drivers as iSCSI targets ( e.g., a stripped down version of Linux or FreeBSD like FreeNAS ).

    It is possible. Whether it is worth cobbling something versus just buying a JBOD box that is already certified to work with a specific set of cards is the bigger question. There are all sorts of Rube Goldberg contraptions you can create that will transfer bits from one box to another. Whether point is getting stuff done or the journey of building is more of an issue.

    If you are not actively using the data on the disks it may be better just to leave them spun down and idle. If only occasionally need some data get something like a drive dock.

    http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-5-0Gbps-Docking-Station-ST0019U/dp/B003ZUXXVU

    pop in the drive , turn it on, get the data you want, eject/unmount , and turn off again. Keeping drives spun up all the time because maybe need something isn't necessarily a good thing. These docks are way simpler to deal with.
     
  6. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    #6
    You could install a multiple-port eSATA card in your Mac and connect directly to the SATA ports on the drives housed in and powered by your spare enclosure's power supply... no other hardware required.

    While still using my G5 Quad as my primary computer, I powered a number of external enclosures from an inexpensive PC power supply. It seems the external encosures' power supplies often fail before the drives do! I'd just salvage the power supply connectors and splice them to the appropriate leads on the PC power supply. You also have to short a certain terminal to ground to get the PC power supply to work right... Google it!
     
  7. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
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    Japan
    #7
    Here's a slightly different take on the same type of thing:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Startech-Com-S...1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1364418896&sr=1-1

    This one delivers twice the speed by using two USB interfaces. Or two sets of two port-multiplied eSATA connections for around 480MB/s. No USB 3.0 tho.

    BTW, the above one I posted will deliver up to 240MB/s if you cable out one of the two eSATA ports on your MacPro motherboard and connect it that way. That's enough bandwidth to use all four of your (older?) drives simultaneously at their full speed most likely.
     
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #8
    One aspect to look out for is that not getting unshielded cables meant for inside a box. If put two relativity large boxes side by side then cable length can be issue if using something targeted at internal use. There is stuff that folks will sell that looks like it will work, but may not work so well over time.
     
  9. utekineir macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    #9
    lol wut


    you say you want to set up a storage enclosure and are willing to get a motherboard, .... but not cpu and ram?


    thats like saying you want to get a car to go to work in but not an engine.
     
  10. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #10
    He might think that could somehow use the I/O chipset connected to ethernet and sata without a CPU but yeah that doesn't work. What is needed is either some SATA controller/port multiplier or funnel the whole set up through some motherboard with a working CPU as the "storage system" master controller.

    An "off the shelf" JBOD box with more disks than ports has some sort of controller and/or port multiplier in it. If want to "DIY" then would need one of those (i.e., need same stuff the other specifically built JBOD boxes have. )
     
  11. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

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    Jun 21, 2011

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