CASE STUDY - storage mining case
As cryptocoin stimulated the need for the calculating mining case, Filecoin also gave birth to the storage mining case. We received a request from a mining company which ask for a customized server case for filecoin. The spec for the mining case is quite simple: it needs as many as 3.5” HDD bays in a standard mining case. On the other hand, it is a specialized storage server case.
Ideas after the filecoin mining case
The filecoin storage mining case is unique. Unlike the usual mining chassis which only need the GPU slot, the storage mining case focus on the storage. Before we continue the story, we must know what is the filecoin and how it works
Similar to other blockchain coins like bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin or Ripple, the filecoin was built under the same technique. Whereas, it was not created to exchange with real money, but a token to attract people to join their blockchain storage platform.
Filecoin borrowed the idea to the storage application and used storage power to generate coins. Briefly, if a miner has more active storage capacity, he has more chance to win the priority to rent his storage to the users. He earns the filecoin as his repay and the filecoin is only the token to finish the transaction.
How the filecoin mining server chassis works
The real technique behind it is called the IPFS, the InterPlanetary File System.
The IPFS is developed by Protocol Labs. According to Wikipedia, InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a protocol and network designed to create a content-addressable, peer-to-peer method of storing and sharing hypermedia in a distributed file system.
Here’s how it works: When user storage data under this protocol, the data will be crypted, replicated and dispersed itself to the nodes on blockchain supported by the Filecoin miners. Each node on the blockchain will save a record copy of the storage data. Therefore, the data won’t lost because it builds a self-healing storage networks which can automatically detecting and repairing replica failures by the saved copies when facing threats.
From the description and the principle behind it, we know the storage mining case is actually a storage server case. The only different between it and usual storage server case is it is controlled under the IPFS protocol.
When we first heard the request, we were surprised by their storage spec. we never heard a mining machine would need so many disks. It draw our attention and we thought it might be a fun project.
We first recommend them to use standard server chassis to get the maximum HDD bays like we did before(see the story of 3U, 76 bays, 3 Nodes Dense Storage Server). However, the mining machine rack is different from common server rack. They also don’t need excessive space for the server motherboard. The mining machine used a customized small, simple motherboard only to load the mining software.
Therefore, we started to rearrange the layout of the GPU mining machine. We first disable the supporting bar for the GPU, and repartitioned the internal space to fit the new motherboard. We then plan the air flow tunnel to cool the disks, leaving enough space between each hard disk drives to get the best cooling effect. The 3 12cm fans were designed on the front of the disk arrays to provide the direct and strong wind to cool the disks efficiently.
Because we had the experience of designing the top mounting server chassis, we soon finish the project within a short time. Our client satisfied with our work because we provided an economic solution which shares the common parts with the server chassis. The chassis is simple, robust, and best of all, easy maintenance, the most important trait a mining machine requires.