Server Upgrade — What can go wrong?

I have an older server at work and the plan was to turn it into a storage box for backups.  I bought a Perc6i off fleabay and with the help of some new 1TB drives, I thought it should turn out nicely…

The aging box is a Supermicro 3U chassis with 8 hot-swap trays — and a Supermicro server board.  Sure it only has 4GB RAM and a Pentium D processor, but it’s all I need for some solid network I/O.  Well, I didn’t bother to check the board only has PCI-E x4 — and the Perc6i is PCI-E x8. Oops, strike 1.

After looking around, I stole an Asus board with a Core2Duo from a desktop machine I used for testing.  So I pulled the server board, dropped in the Asus desktop board — and the x16 slot doesn’t line up to the back of the case — there’s a cooling fan there…..  Strike 2.

So I took the bracket off the card and took the cooling fan out — and decided the card can sit there loose in the rack case.  Ok so time to cable this up.  But since it is a Supermicro case and a Supermicro board, it had a single ribbon cable for the front panel.  Amazingly the breakout cable showed up, but the bundle is so thick the front panel wouldn’t mount back.  After 30 minutes of saying “it can’t be this hard!” I ended up using a paperclip as a spacer to match the new cabling thickness.  Oh, and then the cable was too short to reach the connectors on the motherboard….Strike 3…

So who needs the front panel mounted anyway? It can just sit loose in the case and I’ll leave the 5.25″ bay covers out so a hand can reach it….  So after undoing the shimmed panel yet again, I hooked it up to the board and finished cabling the drives.  And guess what?  The Perc6i plus cable connectors is too tall for a 3U case… Strike 4…

So at this point, I put the server back the way it was and give up.  It can run some secondary tasks and remain unimportant.  I put the raid card in a newer machine and added the drives.  And what else can go wrong?  One DOA drive with cracked plastic by the jumpers and one drive that “works” but the plastic SATA data connector is broken off.  So with 2 out of 5 drives dead, I can’t build the array anyway.  Strike 5……

Sometimes upgrades don’t turn out so well, but I highly recommend avoiding the words that guarantee more problems: “What else can go wrong?”



I took the 3 remaining drives and setup a small RAID 5 just to make sure those 3 drives are ok.  Nope, 1 is bad.  3 out of 5 drives from Newegg are dead in less than 24 hours of unpacking them.  Strike 6…..


I got 2 more drives in and made a RAID 5 and the RAID manager is showing one of the other 2 original drives having 153 media failures already.  So 3 out of 5 bad, and one is flaky — leaving *one* good drive out of a batch of 5….



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