Craigslist Servers: Can I Replace SCSI With SATA?

Microsoft Outlook 2007
January 4, 2012 at 07:37:34
Specs: Probably Linux, N/A
Hello & Happy 2012 from Washington DC.

Craigslist here is flooded with used servers of all ages, brands (Mostly Dells and Compaqs) and configurations (desktop, 1RU, etc), and all are quite affordable. Many of them are tricked out with SCSI drives of questionable capacity and reliability.

I need a couple of cheap servers to train and practice on in anticipation of pro certification further down the road. How difficult/desirable is it to pick up one or two of these oldies and switch the innards over to SATA drives? Has anyone done it? Would it even work?

Thanks very much everyone.

Al Peterson
Washington DC


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#1
January 4, 2012 at 08:51:49
I'm not a server guy, but if the systems don't have a built in SATA controller, one would have to be added. Depending on your needs (RAID, number of SATA ports, interface), controller cards can be pricey.

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#2
January 4, 2012 at 10:10:44
I would give the same answer as riider above. Check the specs of the motherboards on the machines.

What do you mean by questionable capacity and reliability? The seller should be able to supply details of the hardware.


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#3
January 4, 2012 at 10:38:01
>>>What do you mean by questionable capacity and reliability?<<<

It's Craigslist <g>. No one publishes detailed info on age or condition; I'm lucky just to read that the machine has "four hot-swap 37GB SCSIs". That's as good as it gets in these ads.

Thing is, I'd be pulling those old drives out and putting in more modern ones; which is why I wanted to know if such gear could handle contemporary SATAs and who has done it.

Al Peterson
Washington DC


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Related Solutions

#4
January 4, 2012 at 11:02:57
Contact the seller for more information. If you have no information on the hardware how can you know if the equipment is worth buying?

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#5
January 4, 2012 at 11:24:33
>>>Contact the seller for more information. If you have no information on the hardware how can you know if the equipment is worth buying?<<<

I absolutely will.

But the question is not, "Is this gear worth buying?". I need to know if it is possible - in a generic sense at least - to replace SCSI drives with more modern SATAs in a typical server originally set up to use SCSIs, and how I might do that.
Chances are good the seller would not know - often being the office schmuck tasked with disposing of surplus equipment - but someone here in the community might.

Al Peterson
Washington DC


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#6
January 4, 2012 at 11:42:41
SCSI and SATA are totally different interfaces. Just as IDE (PATA) and SATA are different. Additionally there are many different "flavors" of SCSI.

What riider was pointing out is that the servers in question may not (probably not) have any connections on the motherboard for SATA hard drives. If there are no connections you would need to purchase an add in SCSI card. If you wanted server grade SATA with RAID capabilities the card itself can get expensive. Not to mention hard drive prices are currently very inflated due to a major producer currently being out of service.

The main differences in true server type units is redundancy and quality.

The line between servers and PCs has been getting blurrier for some time.

I am not clear on your purpose in buying the used servers but perhaps you could accomplish the same thing with a consumer/business class machine.

Even if you got the servers for free, by the time you install multiple SATA drives and a controller card you may have many hundreds invested in older/ slower technology.


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#7
January 4, 2012 at 12:14:26
"Even if you got the servers for free, by the time you install multiple SATA drives and a controller card you may have many hundreds invested in older/ slower technology"

Just to add to that, hard drives prices are out of control right now due to the recent flooding in Thailand. Supposedly it's going to take about 6 months for the market to recover. For example, the Samsung SpinPoint F3 was one of the most popular 1TB HDD's & could be easily found for about $50 only a few months, now it's $150:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...


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#8
January 4, 2012 at 12:21:49
riider

"Not to mention hard drive prices are currently very inflated due to a major producer currently being out of service."


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#9
January 4, 2012 at 16:00:51
Usually the older scsi servers have pci-x and they don't make pci-x adapter boards for sata so forget the deal if you insist on sata. I'd just not play with them. Not worth the money to power them up. Get an ultra efficient server and save some money.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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#10
January 5, 2012 at 01:50:54
For practice SCSI drives are fine. SCSI were standard for servers for many years.

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#11
January 5, 2012 at 05:38:52
@ OtheHill,

Sorry, I missed that line in your other response.


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#12
January 5, 2012 at 06:20:21
No problem riider. just keeping you on your toes.

We are both on the same page. Obsolete computers are no bargain if you need to upgrade them.

SCSI hard drives are still widely used in servers to the best of my knowledge.

Additionally, SATA & IDE hard drives that are designed to run in RAID arrays are not consumer grade. Consumer grade drives can cause RAID failures even though the drives are performing to specs. So, as wizard pointed out, and what I was questioning in #2 above, is that while the SCSI drives may be of small capacity, they are probably OK for your purposes.


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