In some application, there is a need of all-in-one solution which require huge storage arrays and sufficient servers. Sometimes, we call such system a MiniCloud system, because it contains all essential components in one machine. This is the beginning of the story.


In the mid of 2017, we received an inquiry from a startup company. They’ve earned a great success at the beginning and wanted to continue their story by creating a new server spec to explore new markets. Here’s their requirement of the new chassis: 3U height, 3 node servers, as many as possible HDD bays, good cooling, and easy maintenance.


In an ordinary 3U configuration, a storage server will have 16 3.5” HDD bays if it goes front mounting, or 45 3.5” HDD bays if it goes top mounting. For this client, they wanted a maximum amount of HDD bays, so the top mounting solution was the best choice. However, there came a trade-off between the motherboard and the amount of HDD bays and the cooling.

When the chassis applied the front mounting, the HDD arrays only accounted 1/3 of the total area. There were plenty room for the cooling fans and the motherboard, so the cooling effect would be better. Whereas, when the server went top mounting, though the amount of HDD bays increased dramatically, the space for the motherboard and the fans would be limited. 

To solve this issue, we designed the wind tunnels and evenly insert them between HDD bays. We also change the 3.5” HDD bays into 2.5” HDD bays to get enough space for the tunnels while having the increased the storage density. The chassis was elongated to contain the 3 server nodes. Again, we applied the idea of separating redundant power supply unit to get the optimized arrangement for all devices.

About the maintenance issue, we copied the usual solution to divide the top cover into two pieces. Therefore, when the client wanted to swap the hard disks, they only need to remove the top cover on the HDD bay area. It brought more convenience when IT engineers test or debug the system and the nodes area can keep clean and protected.

In this case, we demonstrated our ODM abilities and the quality of the ID design. We also showed our great project management ability. The chassis was realized after 4 months discussion and proposals. No doubt, our client really satisfied with the final work.