Best way to ship a home server overseas
May 3, 2010 2:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to go about shipping a home server overseas?

I currently live in Hawaii and I'll be moving to Los Angeles fairly soon. All of my media and data is kept on my home server which is at about 2/3rds of its ten terabyte capacity.

I've shipped computers back and forth between the mainland and Hawaii before without incident, but they always had at most two hard drives in them. What are your suggestions for properly packaging the server to ensure that the drives remain intact and operational? Is it wise or even feasible to ship it without individually removing and packaging each hard drive? I'd prefer to avoid that option, but if my only other option is to boot up and find multiple dead drives and all of that data gone forever, I'll find a way to make it happen.

I can't afford to purchase another seven terabytes of drive space right now to ensure redundancy. Advice? Past experience? Warnings?
posted by sun-el to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Would it be difficult to remove the drives and pack them carefully in your carry-on bag?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:20 PM on May 3, 2010

What Burhanistan said, I'd hand carry the drives.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:23 PM on May 3, 2010

Is it an off the shelf server, like a Dell or HP? If so, you may be able to check local businesses and see if you can get a shipping box with all the packaging from them.
posted by kellyblah at 2:36 PM on May 3, 2010

There are eight separate drives, so I don't think carrying them on is going to be feasible once they're properly packed.

It's not an off the shelf server; I built it using an old Antec case.
posted by sun-el at 2:40 PM on May 3, 2010

if possible take them in the carry-on bag
posted by WizKid at 2:40 PM on May 3, 2010

Can you buy a blu-ray burner, use it to backup as much data as you have patience for, then sell it if necessary. Ship the server, take the discs as carry-on. If anything goes wrong, you've got the backups.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:54 PM on May 3, 2010

I would at least fill up the remaining 1/3 of the capacity with redundant copies of the most important stuff from the existing 2/3. And then I, too, would carry them on, or at least carry on the most important stuff, and ship or check the redundant copies.
posted by xueexueg at 2:57 PM on May 3, 2010

There are eight separate drives, so I don't think carrying them on is going to be feasible once they're properly packed.

You want a Pelican 1510, sounds like.
posted by hades at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2010

Nthing carry-on (at least one or two of the most important drives). Not because your hard drives might fail in shipping, but because your entire server could go "missing". Hard drives have really good shock resistance ratings when they are powered off (>300G), so you don't need to worry too much about data reliability issues during shipping. If you are worried, try shipping in a Pelican case like this one. Maybe overkill, but might be useful in the future for other such fragile items.
posted by thewildgreen at 3:33 PM on May 3, 2010

Ship your drives in a padded box insured for their replacement value. Ship your backup, which you obviously have, in a separate box on a separate date via another carrier.
posted by odinsdream at 4:32 PM on May 3, 2010

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