Which is better of 2 bad options? If you have a server with a few HDs in it & you want to make sure the HDs aren't damaged when the server is being transported a long distance, if you're only given these 2 options, which would you choose?
1. Leave the HDs in the server, wrap the server in blanket, & take it in a car to a shipping store where they'll (hopefully) wrap it up securely for shipping, or
2. Take the HDs out first, wrap them in a blanket as well as the server, take them all in a car to the shipping store where again, they'll hopefully wrap them up securely for shipping.
I know these are not good options but if they're the only ones available, in which case do you think the HDs are least likely to be damaged?
Any time I have to move one, I pull all hot swap drives out, after labeling which slot they came out of. Put each in static bag, in a shock mounted (Full of packing peanuts) box. fixed drives remain in chassis.
I also pull out the computer/server power supply(s) (slide in redundant type), then pack cpu unit in double boxed shippng box.
The 2nd box has power supplies and HDD's, and instructions of which drive went in which slot...
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reply to Choice C
I've bought a few servers from ebay over the years and seen both the good and the ugly (not just bad but ugly) of shipping servers. I've also done my share of shipping heavy things over the years and can give you my insights there too.
For ANY heavy items, double boxing is your friend. The outside box is expendable and is OK if it gets damaged as the main internal box will ideally still be protected from both shock and damage (should be 2" of peanuts around all sides between inside and outside box).
For a computer being shipped, hard drives are an issue yes but I would also be worried about the HSF on the CPU. Those plastic clips that a lot of Intel CPUs are using could break under heavy stress (like from being dropped). Fortunately a real server tends to use more robust components so this is less of an issue there but to me "server" can mean anything from a purpose built Dell/HP to a custom built server using desktop components.
How competent is the receiving person as performing basic computer tasks? Will they be able to reattach any cabled hard drives or plug in the PSU cable to the motherboard? I'd suggest disabling it in some way that forces them to open it up and check for anything amiss (even if you have to provide instructions to them). It's better than them wondering what this rattling noise is and blindly plugging it in anyway.
Are these hot swap drives or internal cabled drives? I would do like Jan Janowski said and remove hot swap drives. Plastic components can break easily so pull them out and don't give them the chance to break. If the drive is internal and actually screwed in, those should be good but tool-less drive bays would make me want to pull those out as well.
Taking the system to a shipping store is a potentially good idea but you could easily do the same thing yourself. You'll still be out the cost of the packing materials but that could possibly ad up to the same as the charge for someone else to pack it. The one advantage a shipping store has is if the item gets damaged due to faulty packaging, they would ideally be on the hook (read the fine print to know for sure). Faulty packaging is an easy way for the shipper to deny an insurance claim so having someone else on the hook for that is good; but if packaged right, it shouldn't get damaged either way.
Here is what I would do. Disable the system from powering up in some way (unplug the main PSU cable from the motherboard) so the receiver is forced to open it up and check for anything amiss. Anything that looks or feels loose, go ahead and pull it out or secure it if you can (or secure it if the receiver isn't that skilled at computer service). For hard drives this could go either way. If in doubt, remove the components and package it separately (better safe than sorry). Include any applicable reassembly instructions and package thoroughly. Main chassis should be double boxed with minimum of 2" of peanuts all around between the inside and outside box.
reply to Choice C
Personally, when I do the transportation, I just strap the PCs to the back seat with the seatbelt, and careful when driving and handling them.
If others would do the transportation, either do the double boxing as suggested above, or remove the HD and pack them separately in a shockproof manner.
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reply to Choice C
I haven't ever had trouble shipping fully-assembled servers by carrier, just around town by moving company. Pack them up using proper packaging and make sure the exterior makes plain as day that fragile computer electronics inside. ALWAYS ensure you have at least 2 good backups of what's on it. Keep them widely separated to protect against a perfect storm of calamities befalling you.
If you are truly worried, yank the drives and label them. Package them securely in packaging suitable for disk drives. Send them to the destination separate from the computer itself.
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reply to JoelC707
How competent is the receiving person as performing basic computer tasks? Will they be able to reattach any cabled hard drives or plug in the PSU cable to the motherboard?
The receiving person wouldn't have any problem reattaching cable hard drives or plugging in the cable to the MB.
Are these hot swap drives or internal cabled drives?
They're internal cabled drives.
At this point, it looks like the hard drives will be wrapped in static-free bubblewrap after all & then put in boxes which have 2 to 3 inches of the bubblewrap as padding too. I'm going to ask about having double-boxing done as well.
JoelC707, thanks for your detailed reply. Everyone else who replied, thanks for your answers & suggestions too.
reply to Choice C
You really have to KNOCK a HDD when it is off to damage it in any way. Like dropping it off a building of X height onto a concrete surface. Major manufacturers ship countless number of computers with HDD installed without any problems. Why would you think your system would be any different?
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