Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers

Drew Weaver drew.weaver at
Sat Feb 6 07:57:38 CST 2010

We haven't noticed this yet on R710s but ours have PERC6, As a customer of Dell who has hundreds of these, if we do notice this, we will be using something else in the future. It is plain too expensive, too slow, and too difficult to get drives if we need additional drives for our Dells, I also agree that SATA is SATA.


-----Original Message-----
From: linux-poweredge-bounces at [mailto:linux-poweredge-bounces at] On Behalf Of Stroller
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 8:26 AM
To: Dell Linux Mailing List
Subject: Re: Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers

On 5 Feb 2010, at 22:31, Philip Tait wrote:

> 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 posting this. That Dell are doing this seemed to be hinted  
at in another post a couple of days ago, and I wasn't sure if I was  
reading right. Out of concern that I might be miscomprehending I  
really wanted to do some homework before kicking up a fuss.

I have to say I'm gob-smacked to read this confirmed.

£79 ($123) for a 250GB SATA hard-drive is, these days, a little  
pricey. We can get those for £25 anywhere else, but we tolerated the  
mark-up when we ordered recently because Dell have always been good  
value to us otherwise - let them have their cream. We bought a handful  
of these small drives because we figured they'd include the caddies.  
Those are worth £25 or so to us (that's what we paid for secondhand  
caddies for a 4 year old server last month), so we bought a good  
number of low capacity drives to include those, expecting to upgrade  
the drives themselves in a year or two.

Markups on larger drives are taking the piss, however. £220 for 1TB -  
£53 elsewhere, £740 for 2TB drives that are £100 from the local  
warehouse! And the commodity drives have longer warranties! Dell give  
only 1 year as standard, AND THE PRICE ISN'T EVEN THE POINT! The point  
is the lock-in - if you sell us something that takes SATA hard-drives,  
I expect ANY standard SATA hard-drive to run in it. Why wouldn't it?

I have to say I'm a bit gob-smacked by this. Half of me wants to  
refuse to accept Dell's delivery on Monday, half of me figures this  
ain't such a big deal; we'll tolerate the limitation on this machine &  
maybe it'll all blow over. I'm just completely WTF!?!? over this, I'm  
at a loss how to respond. We certainly won't buy another machine from  
Dell whilst they carry this policy.

I just find it completely stunning that Dell, without some kind of a  
warning, would sell me a "SATA" computer that doesn't accept standard  
SATA drives.

I've spent years defending Dell. I encounter people who assume from  
the price that Dells are low-quality mass-produced crap, and I correct  
them. When someone has (rarely) told me a horror story of shitty  
customer service from Dell, then I have replied that every  
manufacturer has some dissatisfied customers; that might not reassure  
the recipient of bad service, but I discourage other people I meet  
from taking these anecdotes at face value, and contrast with the great  
customer service I have always experienced from Dell. I cannot count  
the number of computers Dell have sold on my recommendation.

In the last fortnight I have dropped a software product (for Windows)  
that I have deployed at hundreds of sites. It's no longer part of new  
installs, it's being removed & replaced on systems as they come in for  
service. Other people I meet tell me they're dropping the same  
software now, too. I guess I saw this coming 18 - 24 months ago, when  
I was cussing the vendor for a new "feature", and asking out loud  
"what did they do _this_ for?". I was cussing them a year ago, and  
within the last 6 months the bugs in their software have *really* been  
taking the mickey. This really feels like Dell going the same way. I  
drafted a rant about that vendor in (I see from my notes) June 2008,  
and never quite got around to polishing it and blogging it. Hopefully,  
since I've found the time on this quiet Saturday morning to complete  
this email, someone at Dell will bother to read it.


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