I wonder how I should encapsulate a bunch of old, internal SATA drives in a single black-box (literally) whose output would be a single USB plug. It would present itself as a single drive with the total size combined. Is that possible? Would it require an external power supply?
1An external PSU would probably be required, but with some kinda USB RAID controller it may be possible– Irsu85Dec 14, 2022 at 11:12
1A random bunch of old drives pressed into service as a RAID0 sounds like an accident waiting to happen.– TetsujinDec 14, 2022 at 16:47
2RAID 5 is also possible– Irsu85Dec 15, 2022 at 7:02
The fatal flaw I see here is your putting a bunch old sketchy drives together and expecting them to be reliable. Unless you use RAID 0,5, or 6 a single drive failure will lose all your data. RAID 0 is mirroring and that isn't what you want.– cybernardJan 19 at 18:11
I use this setup for Chia mining.
Get a PC case, a PC power supply, a 1X to 16X PCIe Adapter for GPU Mining to power a HP SAS Expander Card 24-Port SAS PCI-E Expander Board 468405-001. The all green ones, avoid the earlier version with yellow writing.
Then get any SAS controller like a LSI 9207-8e in IR (integrated raid) if you want one drive or IT (integrated target) mode if you want to see individual drives.
Note the HP board only uses the PCIe for power, so no need to connect it to a motherboard in the case. The mining 1x to 16x will take power from a 4 pin power from the power supply.
Why USB? Would a NAS fill the requirement, providing access to disk shares over an ethernet network? Plenty of brands exist, like Synology which can take drives of different sizes and do "the best it can" with raiding to get some protection while not being limited to the smallest disk capacity.
Additionally, multiple client computers can access the same share at the same time.
If commercial products are a step too-far then home-brew solutions exist. I ran FreeNAS for years, and samba in some form for decades and both need nothing more than reliable hardware. A 10 year old box will run samba on linux perfectly well.
1I understand where you're coming from, but I've got bad experience with network drives. That's why I imagined myself connecting everything to my storage-box manually and directly through USB. Bad idea? Probably Dec 15, 2022 at 8:41
2@CaptainTrojan if you have a storage box, look at additional PCIe SATA controllers. USB is rubbish for reliable data storage and will impose high CPU loads compared to anything else. A motherboard with 8 or more SATA connectors would be good too. Also consider using only your ~8 bigger/newer/more-reliable drives and leave out the smallest ones to reduce risk of data loss.– CriggieDec 15, 2022 at 8:44
1What I meant by 'storage-box' is anything that I make out of those old internal hard drives. Right now I imagine a metal case. That metal case would - in an ideal scenario according to myself - connect to the outside world only through a single USB cable. Dec 15, 2022 at 8:53
1@CaptainTrojan USB DAS enclosures exist, but they are very sketchy. An error on one drive will usually cause the entire enclosure to lock up until that drive starts responding again. This sorta thing wreaks havoc on your system. I'm guessing your bad experiences with network drives was caused by purchasing garbage consumer gear like WD My Cloud instead of NAS hardware aimed at data hoarders.– NavinDec 24, 2022 at 2:17