February 10, 2010
Just in case Dell decides to yank that discussion, here it is, verbatim:
From: linux-poweredge-bounces-Lists On Behalf Of Philip Tait
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 4:31 PM
Subject: Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers
I just received my first Gen11 server, R710, with H700 PERC. I removed
the supplied drives, and installed 4 Barracuda ES.2s. After doing a
"Clear Configuration" in the pre-boot RAID setup utility, I can perform
no operation with the drives - they are marked as "blocked".
Is Dell preventing the use of 3rd-party HDDs now?
Thanks for any enlightenment.
Philip J. Tait
Howard_Shoobe at Dell.com Howard_Shoobe at Dell.com
Tue Feb 9 16:17:54 CST 2010
Thank you very much for your comments and feedback regarding exclusive use of Dell drives. It is common practice in enterprise storage solutions to limit drive support to only those drives which have been qualified by the vendor. In the case of Dell's PERC RAID controllers, we began informing customers when a non-Dell drive was detected with the introduction of PERC5 RAID controllers in early 2006. With the introduction of the PERC H700/H800 controllers, we began enabling only the use of Dell qualified drives.
There are a number of benefits for using Dell qualified drives in particular ensuring a positive experience and protecting our data.
While SAS and SATA are industry standards there are differences which occur in implementation. An analogy is that English is spoken in the UK, US and Australia. While the language is generally the same, there are subtle differences in word usage which can lead to confusion. This exists in storage subsystems as well. As these subsystems become more capable, faster and more complex, these differences in implementation can have greater impact.
Benefits of Dell's Hard Disk and SSD drives are outlined in a white paper on Dell's web site at http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/pvaul/en/dell-hard-drives-pov.pdf
I have mixed feelings about this. From Dell's standpoint, I can see wanting the customer to have the best possible experience, and trying to ensure data integrity by enabling drives that only have their specific firmware and so on. And to be honest, this sort of thing is very common in the SAN arena. Most SAN manufacturers openly state that only their drives with their firmwares will work with their arrays. Of course, the cynic in me wonders how much that has to do with technology and how much has to do with the 4x-5x multiplier premium they get for their drives.
That being said, the consumer in me rages. Look at the verbiage of Howard's response. "There are a number of benefits for using Dell qualified drives in particular ensuring a positive experience and protecting our data."
It's not your data, Howard, and it's certainly not Dell's. It's mine. And if I want to shoot myself in the foot by throwing in a drive with the cache enabled, warn me, but let me do it. If I ignore those warnings and deem my data unimportant enough, then that's my problem. Your servers aren't so expensive that I'm going to be leasing them in many cases. That means some day, I'm going to have a whole pile of old Dell servers that are unusable because I can't upgrade to new drives unless I buy them from you, and I'm sure as hell not going to do that at what you charge.
Grow up, issue a firmware that adds the warning back in, and let us use our hardware how we want.
As of April 14th, Dell has reversed its position and has agreed to issue a firmware to permit 3rd party drives. Great job listening to your customers, Dell!