Rackmount case with external hot-swap solution?

Hello newbie here.
I’m looking for a rackmount case for a NK build, but the one with hotswap bays are pricey. I don’t suppose there’s a way to use an external hot-swap solution (some sort of enclosure/stacker) that would allow me to snake cables into the case and the SATA/SAS headers?


Do you need hotswap? Many of us don’t use it because it’s significantly more expensive.

When a drive dies, it’s a good time to shut down your server, clean it, check connections, etc.

Ok good point. In what way is it more expensive? The drive? The interface? Mobo? So I don’t need it at all (though used to it from synology). What I need the most is an easy way to replace a drive without opening the case–just slap some sort of bracket and rail in and slide it back in and then rebuild array.

So I see they make ‘raid cages’ like this:

Would I be able to just leave this outside of my cheaper rackmount case (that probably wont fit this) and snake the romex and sata cables into the case?

  1. How are you going to power it if it’s going to be external?

  2. If the specs are correct it’s pretty slow speeds at 1.5Gb/s.

  3. You can find that elsewhere cheaper if in the USA

Edit: You could do a “Pico power supply” instead of trying to fish power out of a rackmount case. For the Data your options would be to use a Raid card w/external outputs or eSata expansion for a cheaper option.

I guess my biggest issue is the 2.5" hdd’s you aren’t going to be installing a heck of a lot of storage volume so I guess I’m not seeing the point of doing it at all.

Thanks for the input.

Was going to run the power connectors outside as well.
I was worried that eSata was old and slow.
Yeah I guess I’m not saying I would use this exact one, but one like this.
So my requirements are:

  1. Would like a cheap (4U?) rackmount case.
  2. Would like to be able to change drives without opening the case (
    2a. Hotswap doesn’t matter, but pulling out without opening case, swap rail/bracket and plug back in without opening case does.
  3. Do not want to sacrifice speed.

Maybe there’s some completely different way of doing this, maybe a more performant ‘raid cage’ exists maybe it’s not possible. But the entire point is the requirements above.

It’s not rack mount but this right here seems like it would be the ticket…

When we say hot swap is more expensive it’s because there is a premium on the gear in order to make that all happen. Especially in Covid Inflation times. I built my own DAS out of a recycled CD-ROM copier that I found in the junk bin at Goodwill…works fine. Even then it cost probably well over a $100 not including drives to make it all work after buying drive cages, fans, power supply, LSI raid card, and cabling. In hindsight I probably would have been better off buying something like the U-NAS 8-Bay and being done with it.

If you go with a 4U rackmount you’ll just need to pay attention to which ever hot swap you get how many 5.25" bays it takes up. A lot of them will take up 3 bays and will slip in to those cages and screw in just as if it were a dvd-rom drive. In some cases you can go to the website for the rackmount and find the hot swap options and then search for them. Or you may be faced with having to make modifications to the case or do like what you talking about by running janky power and data cabling to an external hot swap.

Thanks for your help. I see there are they cages that you’re talking about

Rosewill RSV-SATA-Cage-34 - Hard Disk Drives - Black, 3 x 5.25" to 4 x 3.5" Hot-Swap - SATA III / SAS - Cage - Newegg.com-16-132-037--Product

which would probably fit this:

It’s not the 500 that i was seeing for rackmount cases, but I do notice now there are $300USD versions, so maybe I might just bite the bullet and get an AIO. It does look like covid is even affecting these cases. I bought a rackmount case 2 years ago (granted, didn’t have hot swap bays) and only paid $84USD.

I’m going to research my options more. Thanks again!