There are many inexpensive 24-bay 4U server chassis available recently. For those that are aware, many users on this site utilize 24x 3.5″ hard drive 4U cases for storage servers. For many years, the Norco RPC-4224 has been a favorite low cost storage server chassis. It is currently $399 on Amazon with Prime shipping and can accept either redundant power supplies or standard ATX power supplies. The chassis was one of those featured in our December 2010 Buyer’s guide. Today, the more expensive Supermicro SC846 based systems have started to appear on sale for less than those Norco units.
Inexpensive Supermicro SC846 Storage Chassis Options
Recently an auction with many Supermciro SC846 based full 24-bay 4U storage servers went online. This auction is running approximately $350 on ebay. It comes with a Supermciro SC846TQ with 900w redundant power supplies. These power supplies are the PWS-902-1R versions which means they are 900w and not 80 PLUS certified. The interesting thing about this deal is that the chassis includes an AMD Opteron 2346HE processor, 8GB of RAM, a Supermicro H8DME-2 with IPMI and 3 Marvell based add-in storage controllers. Essentially, this is a full storage server with redundant power supplies for only $350. Building new, this is not likely a configuration many would choose, however just the chassis (without power supplies) would generally cost at least $400.
Credit for the original find belongs to Scout255 of the STH forums. In this post he alerted members to a $500 Supermicro CSE-846TQ-R1200B chassis with redundant 1.2kW 80PLUS Gold power supplies included. The catch is that those cases come branded with another company logo. This platform does not have the main server components, but is an excellent platform for a 24-bay 4U storage server. Generally a similar setup would cost around $1,000 new making this an approximately 50% off deal. This $500 storage server case also comes with rack mount rails, something that other offerings, such as the Norco cases do not come with.
For those wondering, Solera Networks is a big data security and analytics firm purchased by BlueCoat in May 2013. It appears as though their appliances are now using Dell systems.
Bottom line both offerings show good potential as an inexpensive 24-bay 4U storage server platform. The general consensus is that the Supermicro SC846 build quality is superior to the Norco RPC-4224 build quality. Once one factors in a quality power supply that can reliably power 24x 3.5″ disks, the Supermicro options are either the same price or less expensive due to these deals. With the $350 server listed above, one even gets a basic storage server platform with IPMI capabilities making it a solid basic storage server.