If your server is not able to address or access more than a single disk drive or two at a time, then adding expansion chassis enclosures may not be the answer. If, however, the number of disk drives that can be attached to your server is limited to what can be physically installed, then you could benefit from using some expansion enclosures. However, unlike SCSI bus cables that can stretch out several meters in length, IDE cabling is more distance restrictive.
Your situation is a good illustration of the expression, "you can't get something for nothing." You have the disk drives, but in order to use them, you may have to address some hidden costs. I've been down this road: While it's nice to have all of those disk drives, it can be a hassle to actually use them.
When all is said and done, I would, based on my own experiences, go and get a new inexpensive high capacity disk drive, and copy the contents of your old hard disk drives one by one to this newer larger capacity disk drive. Then give those old disk drives a retirement party and put them to rest. (Be sure to properly delete the data on them).
This was first published in September 2004