Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers

Tim Small tim at
Mon Feb 8 05:48:44 CST 2010

Philip Tait wrote:
> 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.

Hi Philip,

I was wondering what the firmware version on the "blocked" drives is?  
e.g. using smartctl or hdparm -I on the drives when stuck in a different 
box?  Assuming your drives are SATA rather than SAS, the firmware in a 
250G Dell-supplied ES.2 in an R200 which I have here is "MA08", whereas 
some third-party drives in other machines use "SNxx" series firmware.  I 
believe it is possible to switch from one to the other firmware series.

Whilst I think Dell's policy is probably wrong (it should be "complain 
loudly" rather than "disallow"), it's possible that there are genuine 
reasons for this - I spent/wasted most of last week diagnosing what is 
starting to look like a firmware bug on WD 2TB "green power" drives on a 
non-Dell server - interspersing SMART queries with other types of 
transactions would appear to occasionally cause the drives to lock-up!

I wouldn't be surprised if the H700 adaptor firmwares are doing various 
"unusual" things to the hard drives, and it's possible that Dell has got 
nervous about buggy firmware from unqualified drives reflecting badly on 
their hardware.....

Some official (or non-official) comment from Dell on the *technical* 
reasons for this decision would be welcome....



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