Question How to Converting a Media Server into a Box of Drives?


Jun 21, 2011
Ok, so I have gotten my hands on a Dell PowerEdge R710 server. I want to replace my old Emby server with the PowerEdge, but my existing Norco case has 24 bays, and 16 of them are in use.
I plan to put a HBA with external SAS connection into each machine so I can connect the Norco case to the PowerEdge server to create/manage a JBOD array. Anyone recommend a decent low profile HBA with 1-2 external connections?

I've build hundreds of machines and servers, but this is new territory for me. On one hand I wonder if I even need a mobo and CPU in the Norco. In theory it just needs drives and power, right? But, on the other hand the backplane needs to connect to something, and I need somewhere to put the HBA with external connection, so I do need a mobo of some kind. Then do I install Windows on it so the HBAs work? But then where are the drives mounted, on the Norco windows OS, or in the PowerEdge OS?

I'm hoping someone can help me figure this out. I tried to google it, but I think I'm asking too broad of a question, I'm not getting good results.

Any help is appreciated!