I've found some enclosures that seem like they'd work, but like I said, I've never used SAS so I really don't know. Is it as simple as getting an enclosure, inserting the drives, then connecting it to the motherboard with Sata cables?
Any help/suggestions/corrections would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Well, that is the correct cable. The cable doesn't affect hot-swap capability.
If you have three available drive cages inside the machine, you can keep the drives inside the machine.
You might let us know what your employer or other taskmaster wants from this setup. There are people here with pretty serious enterprise RAID storage experience who might be able to give you guidance to a better setup.
So, just to be clear (cause I'm an idiot and I'd rather not screw this up) I can connect the 3 drives to the RAID card with that cable?
The server is going to be running our student information system. I got the hardware specs from the software manufacturer, and decided on RAID 5 for speed and to better prepare for hardware failure. I have spare parts on hand (and will obviously backup like crazy), but since this will be somewhat significant to my school, I want to limit downtime i nthe event of something breaking.
Yes, it's a sort of a breakout cable. That's all it does, break out from a more compact connector to four less compact connectors. Both the cable and the card have the SFF (Small Form Factor) connector. The breakout cable makes the questionable decision to include power connectors that convert from 4-pin Molex connectors, but what the heck. As long as the drives only need 5 volt amd 12 volt power. If the drive needs 3.3 volt power on pins 1, 2, and 3, then it will choke on this connector. You might check the mfg specs.
On the bigger question: a three-drive RAID 5 is probably slower than single drives, not faster. Any benchers out there want to back me up or correct me. However, the idea of "limiting downtime" has a very nasty side-issue. A single SATA drive can be read on just about any SATA controller. Drives in a RAID5 volume tend to be readable only from the same controller running something near the same rev of software. Your system will be safe from a single spindle failure, but SOL if the controller fails. Keeping a spare on hand is a good, if expensive, idea.