Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers

J. Epperson Dell at
Sat Feb 6 08:32:26 CST 2010

Top posting due to the length of Stroller's eloquent and thoughtful post. 
Well said, and entirely seconded.

I think it's particularly bad timing for Dell to be doing this at a time
when Oracle has purchased a hardware arm and is picking off Red Hat Linux
(a Dell partner) software support customers with lowball pricing.  If the
hardware is going to be proprietary anyway, why risk having multiple
parties accountable for OS/drivers/hw support, a risk that has plagued the
Unix/Linux community since the onset of X86 platforms?  I'm sure there are
others who experienced the nightmare of SCO Unix on EISA bus machines with
third part cards and fourth party drivers.  Open source has vastly
improved this, but in commercial production environments there's always a
yearning for accountability for support.  Take away the open hardware part
of the equation and the choices appear different.  I'm just sayin....

On Sat, February 6, 2010 08:26, Stroller wrote:
> 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.
> Stroller.
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