The cheapest mass storage available!
This review is from: SUPERMICRO SuperChassis CSE-847E26-RJBOD1 Black 4U Rackmount Server Chassis 1400W Redundant
Pros: HUGE amounts of storage in just 4U of JBOD goodness. As-of the date of this review, using the latest 8TB disks, you can cram 360TB -- literally over one-third of a PETABYTE -- into just 4U of rack space. While Supermicro and others make 90-drive JBODs in 4U as well (720TB in 4U!), they're much, much more expensive (>$10k for the chassis). This unit seems to be the sweet-spot on a cost-per-slot basis. 45 bays for $2k, or just over $40 per slot. That's all great, but how well does it work? In a word, it works "well." There are certainly some niggles, negatives and drawbacks (see the "Cons" section) but keep in mind the low cost and solid performance and most of those are easily overlooked. PLEASE read the CONS section, as there is valuable information so you know what you're getting.
Cons: Built with cheap-feeling components. Drive trays look and feel very fragile, cheap even. Internal cooling fans are HARD WIRED! No quick-swapping of any internal components / cables / backplanes (PSUs are external hot-swap and tool-less). For some mysterious reason, the internal SAS cables are NOT connected at the factory. We initially believed we had a defective unit, only to discover that we had to open it up and figure out the internal cabling layout ourselves. It wasn't that difficult, but it would've been nice to include a single letter-sized sheet of paper on top that lets their customers know. A cabling diagram would be even better! Fortunately, we're an IT-centric company, but I presume many potential consumers are not and this could be a deal-breaker for them. With the E26 unit, you can have EITHER redundant pathways OR the ability to daisy-chain additional enclosures -- you can't have both. NO extra drive trays are included, so if you want to keep cold spares at-the-ready -- which is an obvious provision, given the number of drives in a single chassis -- you'll need to purchase a few more trays. The proper tray for this particular unit are Model # MCP-220-00075-0B and are available here on the Egg. The unit is, obviously, extremely heavy. It is shipped via FREIGHT only, on a pallet. The entire pallet -- with NO drives installed -- weighs 180 pounds. The boxed unit weighs 130 pounds, and it is very well packaged. Supermicro strongly recommends that you do NOT ship the unit populated with drives, so if you're an integrator / reseller, your customer will have to pop the drives in on-site. The SFF-8088 connectors feel a little loose on the back, so use caution when making connections and be sure there is no stress on the cabling into the 847 chassis. The unit is fairly loud, so using it next to a workstation will be too noisy for most, but it's not a hair dryer and can be tolerated. As with most chassis, when first turned on it sounds like the flight deck on an aircraft carrier. There will be NO stealth boot-ups with this unit. To guarantee uptime, I'd strongly recommend having spare drives on hand and pre-trayed and also have a spare hot-swap power supply. I believe the PSU is Model #: PWS-1K41P-1R, also available here on the Egg. It might not be a bad idea to have a spare fan handy as well, or take some initiative and buy some Noctua fans of the same size to reduce noise and increase reliability (just came to mind) -- remembering that the fans are all hard-wired and mounted with screws into the internal chassis, so you'll have to be off-line and unplugged to change those out. Sadly, since there really is no alternative, air is sucked in over one set of drives, warmed up by those drives, then that warm air is blown out over the other set of drives. I'd recommend NOT using this is a very warm or dusty / dirty room. Maybe hang a piece of gauze or cheesecloth over the intake side to reduce internal dust buildup.
Other Thoughts: All-in-all, this is a strong effort and offering for most deployments. Three of these filled with 8TB disks will push you over the 1PB storage barrier in just 12U of rack space at a chassis price that simply can't be believed. I can highly recommend them with a few caveats, spelled out in the CONS section. Just have ample spare disks, PSU(s), and fan(s) so you can perform your own warranty service and keep your array humming along without skipping a beat.
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