Looking for some insight before I begin

Good day,

I currently have an old PC (think 1st gen I7, Geforce 560, legacy mobo) that I had thrown plex on and turned into a home server. I essentially have been adding hard drives and a pci-e sata expansion card to keep the storage flowing. As I am starting to get a wee bit worried about a redundancy factor, I started looking into Unraid. I was looking at all of your NAS building guides and decided I should at least upgrade my aging system before I jump in.

Here is where my problem lies. A friend kindly donated a server and I thought that would be fun to use as my host machine. It has 6 300gb 10000rpm SAS drives with it, 72 gigs of ram, and two 6 core xeon processors. It is older but still better than what I had, plus it’s free. Here is my biggest question: If I put Unraid on the server and use it as my main host, what specifically should I do to turn the old PC into a NAS?

I know this sounds ridiculously basic and thick headed, but I do not quite understand what file system I would have on the NAS. All of the guides point to having everything on one machine, but what are the steps when you have 2?

Or am I even creating a NAS? Would it be better to get an SAS HBA card and just run the cables to the hard drives in the old pc? I really am scratching my head here as to what would be the best option.

If any of you wizened vets could throw me some advice then I would be eternally grateful.

Why wouldn’t you just use the donated server with Unraid as your NAS? What would you be doing with your old PC that can’t be done using the Unraid server?

I think I am terrible at articulating. I want to run Unraid on the server, but I guess the biggest hurdle is how do I connect 8 3.5" sata hard drives to a rack mount server that only has 2.5" SAS drives and slots?

Do I just strip the old pc case, mount the drives inside, use the power supply and run cables to a HBA in the server? That’s my biggest concern, if that makes sense. I am sure there are a myriad of ways to hook the drives up but I am just looking for some advice on the best method.

Thank you for clarifying the problem you are trying to solve, it makes giving advice much easier.

Based on what you have said, I would say that you have 2 main options.

  1. Make a Direct Attach Storage(DAS): This is just the fancy name for the idea that you mentioned. As you said, you just need to strip everything but the drives and the power supply out of the old case and then either run the drive cables out to the SAS HBA in the new server or if you want minimize the cables running from one machine to the other and get something a bit cleaner looking you can use internal-to-external adapters. For additional information and details on making a DAS I would suggest that you read the following forum threads:
  1. Migrate your hardware: This may or may not work depending on what hardware you have but the upside to this option is that all of your hardware will be in one box. If the motherboard in your new server is not proprietary (heavily customized to only work well with the factory setup) and is a standard size with standard standoff positions and it will fit within your old case, you might be able to take the components out of the new server and install them into your old case.

I hope that helps


That helps immensely. Thank you for your quick response. I think DAS will be the answer, I cannot see a way that I could physically mount the server hardware in the case. I can make a nice shelf and hide most of the cables regardless. Thanks again, it’s very much appreciated.