Back to Article

  • thomas-hrb - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    If you looking at storage servers under the desk why not consider something like the DELL VRTX. that at least have a significant advantage in the scalability department. You can start small and re-dimension to many different use cases as you grow Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Good suggestion, although the DELL VRTX is a bit higher in the (pricing) food chain than the servers I described in this article. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    With room for 4 blades in the enclosure the VRTX is also significantly higher in terms of overall capability. Were you unable to find a server from someone else that was a close match in specifications to the Cirrus 1200? Even if it cost significantly more, I think at least one of comparison systems should've been picked for equivalent capability instead of equivalent pricing. Reply
  • npz - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    I myself have been looking around for a while and have not found any tower/office system that offers more than 8 x 3.5" drives from Dell, HP, Supermicro, etc. (If anyone finds one I'd love to know!)

    I know Synology offers a 12 disk large cube NAS, but I don't want their OS and don't like their hardware. So I built my own 12 x SATA hotplug instead.
  • npz - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Well, aside from this Advatronix that is, which now has my interest.

    All drive bays on my machine are taken, but this Cirrus 1200 still has room for 6 x 2.5" drives in its 5.25" optical bay. (I also have the same 6 x 2.5" drives in 5.25" bay adapter for another machine)
  • Haravikk - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    I'm still disappointed by the attention to detail on a lot of these products. I just built my own RAID chassis, in my case for direct attached storage rather than a NAS, but I've just modified a cheap 9x 5.25" bay PC case, installing backplanes into the bays gives me room for up to 15 3.5" drives or up to 54 2.5" bays (in my case 10 3.5" drives, but with three bays left for expanding.

    Only cost me about $600 before drives, it runs cool, and is practically silent thanks to two 120mm fans (one per backplane) and a 140mm fan as a top exhaust since the unit doesn't have much room for circulation behind it, plus it's much easier to keep clean.

    I dunno, a lot of these units are massive for what they are, and this advatronix one is really ugly; okay so I know aesthetics aren't a big deal, but if I can make a neat looking chassis from a cheap gaming case, a hacksaw and a piece of plastic (for a new back) then you'd think a proper company could do something a bit less obtrusive.
  • jjeff1 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure who would want this server. If you have a large SQL database, you definitly need more memory and better reliability. Same thing if you have a large amount of business data.

    Dell, HP or IBM could all provide a better box with much better support options. This HP server supports 18 disk slots, 2 12 core CPUs, and 768GB memory.
    It'll cost more, no doubt. But if you have a business that's generating TBs of data, you can afford it.
  • npz - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    That must be for the rack mount form factor because if you look at the tower version specs when you go configure it to buy, it only supports 6 x 3.5" or 8 x 2.5" max.

    Also, businesses that deal with lots of TB of data don't have to be big businesses at all. Many small to tiny businesses and individuals can EASILY generate and/or work with many TBs of data if they deal with multimedia.
  • Jeff7181 - Sunday, June 08, 2014 - link

    If you have a large SQL database, or any SQL database, you wouldn't run it on this box. This is a storage server, not a compute server. Reply
  • Gonemad - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    I've seen U server racks on wheels, with a dark glass and keys locking it, but that was just an empty "wardrobe" where you would put your servers. It was small enough to be pushed around, but with enough real estate to hide a keyboard and monitor in there, like a hypervisor KVM solution. On the plus side, if you ever decided to upgrade, just plop your gear on a real rack unit. It felt less cumbersome than that huge metal box you showed there.

    Then again, a server that conforms to a rack shape is needed.
  • Kevin G - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Actually I have such a Gator case. It is sold as a portable case for AV hardware but conforms to standard 19" rack mount widths and hole mounts. There is one main gotcha with my unit: it does't provide as much depth as a full rack. I have to use shorter server cases and they tend to be a bit taller. It works out as the cooling systems of taller rack cases tend to be quieter and an advantage when bring them to other locations An more of a personal preference thing but I don't use sliding rails in a portable case as I don't see that as wise for a unit that's going to be frequently moved around and traveling. Reply
  • martixy - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Someone explain something to me please.

    So this is specifically low-power - 500W on spec. Let's say then that it's a non-low-power(e.g. twice - 1kW). I'm gonna assume we're threading on CRAC territory at that point. So why exactly? Why would a high powered gaming rig be able to easily handle that load, even under air cooling, but a server with the same power factor require special cooling equipment with fancy acronyms like CRAC?
  • alaricljs - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    A gaming rig isn't going to be pushing that much wattage 24x7. A server is considered a constant load and proper AC calculations even go so far as to consider # of people expected in a room consistently, so a high wattage computer is definitely part of the equation. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    I suspect it's mostly marketing BS. One box even a high power one that's at a constant 100% load doesn't need special cooling. A CRAC is needed when you've got a data center packed full of servers because they collectively put out enough heat to overwhelm general purpose AC units. (With the rise of virtualization many older data centers capacity has become a thermal limit instead of being limited by the number of racks there's room for.)

    At the margin they may be saying it was designed with enough cooling to keep temps reasonable in air on the warm side of room temperature instead of only when it's being blasted with chilled air. OTOH a number of companies that have experimented with running their data centers 10 or 20F hotter than traditional have found the cost savings from cooling didn't have any major impact on longevity so...
  • Kevin G - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    It really comes down to scale. A single system, regardless if it is a 4U server or a gaming rig can be run in a home environment and not have to worry too much about cooling. Sure, putting them in a closet with the door closet will cause them to bake but that'd be true of any high power piece of electronics.

    For a single server, a CRAC is overkill. When dealing with a room with hundreds of racks, each full of servers, a CRAC is necessary to deal with the heat output. CRAC's are also designed with datacenter RAS methodology. They're highly modular to ease service, typically fit into standard rack row and have monitoring capabilities. Multiple CRAC's can also load balance the cooling needs of a room or act has a 'hot spare' in case another unit fails. These are features you don't find in home air conditioning units.

    There is also another thing to factor in comparing a gaming rig with server: size. Common servers are either 1U or 2U in height which means they'll use small high RPM fans internally. This means they're loud and there are a lot of them. Cooling for rack servers is done in one direction: front to back. A gaming rig tends to have plenty of room. Larger, lower RPM fans *can* move more air than several smaller 80 mm fans. In addition, the typical gamer case has more area to draw into it as well as for exhaust. In otherwords, a gaming case is less restrict in terms of airflow for cooling.
  • sciencegey - Saturday, June 07, 2014 - link

    It isn't to do with power draw, it's the fact that your PC isn't running 24/7 with loads of HDDs (which create a lot of heat) and the fact that they will be running at around about 60% load constantly. Also, CRAC is just a fancy way of saying air conditioning. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Ummmmm. If your business relies on this data then it shouldn't be "under your desk".

    And don't forget your UPS and your offsite backups either. Another issue I see is that a company of a size that might be looking at something like this probably doesn't have any IT support in house to manage those backups and disaster recovery procedures. Unfortunately that's just the sort of situation where I find businesses doing this sort of thing. An amateur sets something up "under his desk" but when it fails they are screwed. Or when that person leaves the company they are screwed.

    So there are probably certain niches where this sort of system could be useful but if a company doesn't either have IT staff or at least a support contract to manage things, it's very likely they would be better off in the cloud - if only for disaster recovery purposes.
  • npz - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    As I mentioned above:
    Also, businesses that deal with lots of TB of data don't have to be big businesses at all. Many small to tiny businesses and individuals can EASILY generate and/or work with many TBs of data if they deal with multimedia.

    I know of small tech startups that also handle their own IT, and competently I might add. They'd cobble something like this out of spare parts with a tower and hotplug backplanes -- like I do for myself, sans the redundant PSU. Furthermore, the cloud is terrible for primary storage and in fact for many, hosting many TBs of storage is out of the question for most people.

    Aside from speed, which can be an issue even for backup, it is simply not affordable at all.
  • Ratman6161 - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    My points still stand. What happens when it fails? "Cobble together" isn't something you want for anything that's actually important to the business. The people I find cobbling things together are also usually the ones without backups and without any disaster recovery plan. Not saying that applies to you (how would I know?) but I've seen it happen too many times. At least have those redundant PSU's and an UPS and at least do your backup to the cloud as a bare minimum. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    Excellent post. Most people associate "big data" with massive companies. But in fact, the most innovative IT services can be found inside many SMEs. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    The Dell T620 has a chassis option for 32 2.5" Hard Drives Reply
  • valinor89 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    "Moreover, while renting a few Terrabytes in the cloud has become relatively affordable..."
    Terrabytes is meant as a joke or a typo? It sounds cool anyway.
  • rpg1966 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

  • thunderbird32 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Fujitsu is a weird company. I've never been able to find a reseller that carries their x86 servers or workstations. One wonders how much business they do in that category in the US. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    Thanks for sharing. Each time I went to Cebit, the people at Fujitsu had little interest talking to me, as I was international press. It is like the x86 line is their just to complete their product portfolio. Reply
  • Drizzt321 - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    I would have liked to have seen an option to ditch the RAID cards and move to simple HBA cards to allow OS management of the arrays. Would also probably decrease the cost by a good bit. Reply
  • npz - Friday, June 06, 2014 - link

    Yes, I think that would actually be a better option for *nix too.
    Either LSI non-RAID5/no-mem HBAs or the new Rocket 750 from HighPoint:
    used in Backblaze's storage pods.
    However, I absolutely do not recommend the Highpoint raid (mostly fakeraid anyways) cards for *nix!
  • sciencegey - Saturday, June 07, 2014 - link

    This thing seems kinda pointless because if you are a small business, you can get a cheap server rack and then get a storage server and even have places to put your network switch and VoIP box. This means you won't have to take up precious office space (you can mount server racks on walls) with this giant blue box. If you are really too cheap for a server rack-mount system, then you would probably just build your own file server, which is pretty easy (if you love Linux, make you own distro, use current distros like FreeNAS or shell out to get Windows Server. And if you are using Macs, then you just use a Time Machine/hackintosh as a Time Machine). Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Sunday, June 08, 2014 - link

    The last point is where you make a reasoning error. Most enterprises just do not want to build their own fileserver, otherwise there would be not NAS market. Reply
  • sciencegey - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    I was using the last point as an example of what a SOHO could do, which this storage server is targeted at. Reply
  • tential - Saturday, June 07, 2014 - link

    Why couldn't they just sell the case by itself.....

    I don't need a 4500 system, I need a decent case like that.
  • Aikouka - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    Yeah, I was hoping this was actually just a server case review. =( Reply
  • AdvatronixSystems - Saturday, September 27, 2014 - link

    We do sell the case by itself! :)

    Please contact if you're interested.
  • watersb - Sunday, June 08, 2014 - link

    Thanks for reviewing this. Very interested in storage servers. But at these price points, I'm still in "build-your-own" territory. Reply
  • YouInspireMe - Sunday, June 08, 2014 - link

    I have truly enjoy reading and have learned so much observing the high level exchange of knowledge here on this site I wonder if you could offer a little insight to a less knowledgeable fan of this sight. Other than it being headless and having lower power consumption what are the advantages/differences between a standard server and dedicated PC with sharing on a local network. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    Thanks. Another advantage is the build-in BMC which allows you to do remote management (remote power on, remote console). The rest is rather obvious: very little time is needed to replace PSU and the disks. I would definitely like the latter in my desktop :-). Reply
  • CalaverasGrande - Monday, June 09, 2014 - link

    this looks like a server from the 90's except with a powder coat finish! So it must be good? Reply
  • RoboKaren - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    Why not look at the BackBlaze StoragePod 4.0 derived commercial product, the Storinator:

    If I had $5k to spend on storage, I'd give it a serious look.
  • mrshadow75 - Thursday, June 12, 2014 - link

    If I had $5k to spend I would seriously have a closer look on used EMC² CX3 or CX4 storages on ebay.... you almost can´t beat the features and performance of those... Reply
  • AdvatronixSystems - Saturday, September 27, 2014 - link

    Well, there are quite a few reasons why I wouldn't go with the server you suggested. (I'm looking at their redundant PSU version, which is over $6.7k starting price.)

    It comes with a redundant PSU, a dual-core i3 Processor, 2 500GB drives, and a pair of HBA cards. Again, over $6.8k.

    Or, for $4,564, you can get a Cirrus with a redundant PSU, an actual server grade, quad-core processor (E3-1265L V2), an actual hardware RAID card with 1024mb cache. Also, it includes TWELVE drives, not two. :)

    Compare yourself - or
  • nagi603 - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    Damn, I wish I could just buy the chassis itself with the bays for my unRAID array... Reply
  • AdvatronixSystems - Saturday, September 27, 2014 - link

    You can, actually!

    Please contact me at and we'll get you set up.
  • snwcrash - Thursday, July 03, 2014 - link

    Does Advatronix make this chassis? I would love to purchase it separately :-) Reply
  • AdvatronixSystems - Saturday, September 27, 2014 - link

    It is indeed our own proprietary chassis, and we do sell it by itself.

    If you're interested in acquiring the chassis separately, you can contact me at

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now