How do I actually hook HDD's to a RAID controller?

I know this is probably a really strange question but believe it or not, after having spent a solid week scouring the internet (every tutorial, every forum, every review on every RAID controller on Newegg) I am at a complete loss.

I want to setup a 12-drive RAID without buying an expensive enclosure. I figured I'd buy a huge tower that could house 12 3.5" 4 TB drives. Then I'd toss in a motherboard and a 12-drive RAID controller.

Then I ran into a huge brick wall.

How do you actually hook the hard drives up to the RAID controller? Every controller I look at everywhere only has one or two SAS ports.

So this means even if I bought a 12-drive RAID controller, I'd actually need to buy six of those controllers and hook two drives up to each RAID controller via a SAS -> SATA cable.

I'm at my wits end on this one. Please could someone explain to me, simply, how you get the HDD's hooked up to the RAID controller *without* going through an enclosure that magically wires all the cards together i a way where they need only a SAS connector to go to the RAID controller which is simply what I'm assuming the enclosures do.
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  1. Best answer
    You most likely need splitter cables. Each of those ports most likely handles multiple drives.

    Somethng like this:
  2. Thanks I see. Do you happen to know if the standard solution in this case would be to use the RAID array as the boot partition for the server as well? Or to install an additional internal drive for booting.
  3. It most likely depends on your needs. For most server environments, I like the OS on RAID 1 and storage to be on a RAID 5 or RAID 10, again depending on it's purpose.

    I don't have much experience with SAS, so others may have more information for you.
  4. Thanks for your help.
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