These days, solid state disks are all the rage meaning there is an increasing need for 2.5″ to 3.5″ converters to mount a SSD into a traditional 3.5″ hard drive slot. In the desktop realm this is very easy because most configurations use only SATA cables and SATA power cables. That flexibility has one unique advantage: location of the SATA and power connectors does not matter. In the server realm, this can be a bit more tricky. Let’s take a look at what some differences are and how that impacts the adapter decision.
By way of preface, the inspiration for this came when we tried to fit 2.5″ solid state drives into our Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 3.5″ chassis. The idea was to add a mounting bracket to the 3.5″ drive sled, and then use these as hot swap devices. As a result, the 1AM workaround was to order inexpensive 2.5″ SATA drive converters from ebay that would arrive just in time. The following adapter type arrived:
The metal on the 2.5″ to 3.5″ converter was surprisingly solid, however there was a small issue. The mounting holes for this adapter were in the incorrect position. In a desktop chassis this is not an issue because cables can simply be shifted a few inches. In a server with a SAS/ SATA back plane, this is a very large issue as the SSD is offset. Here is a standard 2.5″ to 3.5″ converter by Corsair next to the inexpensive ebay converters:
What one will quickly notice is that the Corsair version is offset so that the mounting holes will line up almost in the correct position. The net impact of this minor miscalculation is that the power and data connectors for the SSD and its SATA interface were not lined up properly. The drives could not be installed in the chassis and proper converters needed to be sourced. Of course, I did order more than a dozen of these units which will never be used. For the colocation project we were in a bit of a bind so we had to find alternative 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapters quickly.
Lesson learned: if you try to convert a server 3.5″ drive sled for use with a 2.5″ SATA SSD, make sure you purchase the correct adapter.
Jeff is putting together a comprehensive guide on 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapters based on his work with the Dell C6100, HP and Supermicro cloud servers. Look for this one shortly.