Third-party drives not permitted on Gen 11 servers

Eric Rostetter rostetter at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Feb 9 23:15:55 CST 2010


Quoting Howard_Shoobe at dell.com:

> 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.

I'm fine with this.  And I'm fine if your tech support won't support that
configuration, or if that configuration voids my warrenty, and even if
your OpenManage software won't support it.  But I still want to be able
to make it work in the machine at my own peril...

I don't mind if I have to do something in the PERC controller setup menus
to force it to accept the non-Dell drive. I don't care if I have to set a
jumper on the PERC card to get it to accept the non-Dell drive.  I'm willing
to jump through hoops to disable this in the rare case I need to.  But
I still want that option.

My problem with the total lock-out without any way around it is that it
implies that once my machine is out of warranty and support, and/or Dell
wants to charge me an astronomical sum for a replacement part (e.g.,
$1049 for a 36GB _REFURBISHED_ disk drive for my Dell PE 2300/2400 machine)
I can't do anything with the machine if I lose a disk drive (since I
can't/won't pay the astronomical sum for their drives, if they are even
available at all).

> With the introduction of the PERC H700/H800 controllers, we began  
> enabling only the use of Dell qualified drives.

This worries me...  I'd be okay if there was some mechanism to defeat this
(see above).  But this implies I can't even use a different drive for
testing/troubleshooting for example.  That if Dell goes out of business
or discontinues the parts, my machine is junk.  That if Dell decides
that $1049.00 is a good price for the 36GB used replacement drive I need,
I have to pay it (held hostage to them as it were) even though others might
sell the same drive for less than $100.00 (but with the manufacturer's
firmware instead of Dell's firmware).

> There are a number of benefits for using Dell qualified drives in  
> particular ensuring a positive experience and protecting our data.

Yes, and there are a number of disadvantages for those of us who
buy on the cheap and keep the machines for decades...

I think it is great for those who replace their servers every 2-3 years
and keep it under warranty the whole time. But for those who can't afford
to do that and want to keep it around after the warranty is over, it seems
like it will be problematic.  Maybe Dell doesn't want us "poor" people as
customers any more, I don't know...

Well, just my thoughts.  Right now, I'll probably just order any new Dell
servers with the older PERC's so this isn't an issue until Dell stops
selling those older PERC's...  When that day comes, well, I can re-evaluate
things at that time...

I think a lot of people are over-reacting to this situation.  But that is
probably due to Dell not getting this info out to us in a timely/efficient
manor.  No one likes surprises...  But at the same time, I do think this is
a real issue, and I'd recommend Dell reconsider its position on this matter.
A "middle-road" like I suggest above (allow it to work with other drives
after great effort and at the peril of voiding the warranty/support) would
be a fine thing IMHO.  Seems like that gives Dell what they want, and
gives the end-user (at least some of) what they want...

-- 
Eric Rostetter
The Department of Physics
The University of Texas at Austin

Go Longhorns!



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