Strictly speaking, this is a Banana Pi question. However, one might want to do something similar with a Raspberry Pi, so I consider it appropriate to ask here. Hope I'm right.

Now the Banana Pi has an eSata connector. I can hook this up to a hard disk drive, and what I've got is an internal 3.5" HDD. I would like to keep this configuration as a home server, however, I am afraid that the HDD will not like this mode of operation - lying around loosely while spinning. What is my best option to keep the HDD safe and working? Do I need a case?

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    I'm sure you can search for HDD enclosures online. If you don't want to buy one (you don't need to), try dollar store tupperware. You can even pick up some shiny unicorn/dolphin/banana stickers for the outside at the same time. – goldilocks Jan 11 '15 at 21:43

Typically your HDD should not be affected by lying around. We've been running a CubieTruck like that in our hackerspace for a while now. As long as you don't shake it hard while the drive is spinning you're fine. Think about notebooks. The HDDs inside have no problem with spinning while the computer is on your lap or carried around.

Also, when the HDD has no case it will probably be a bit cooler, so it should live longer.

If you really want you could get/build an open case like the one they sell for the CubieTruck, which is basically three acrylic plates with holes to mount the logic board and the HDD.

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