Dell MD3000 certified drives

In my experience with any Dell MD3000 we've had I've only had it certify one hard drive model as "certified" and compatible with my MD3000. This was a Samsung HD204UI 2TB hard drive. All others when placed in the MD3000 would show up as "uncertified" and instructed to remove the drive (tried barracuda and seagate). I've read around people saying you can buy pricey drives from Dell or try slightly less expensive resellers online.

Has anyone had experience with any other non-expensive 2TB drives with a Dell MD3000? I've only had one successful drive work and many other models and brands fail. I'd like to be able to run to Frys for emergencies and be able to pick up a drive if I need to.
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Well first, if you are silly enough to use the consumer class drives .. then that pretty much guarantees data loss (when you get bad blocks).  The firmware programmed into those drives have different timings for error recovery that are simply incompatible with the controller.  They will work, but only up to the point where there aren't any read errors.

What will happen, is that the disk drive will appear to lock up to the controller when it tries to do recovery.  The controller won't wait long enough.  Consumer disks are designed with the idea that you only have one of them, and if it takes 30-60 seconds to get that wedding photo, then so be it.  The disks in the dell are tuned so that they give up after 1-2 seconds, under assumption the RAID redundancy will take over.

Having said that ...  What I don't know is if the controller flat-out rejects disks due to the vendor/product ID strings, which can NOT be programmed into an off the shelf drive without something that is never supposed to leave Dell or their manufacturer's hands, and I assure you, you won't find it online.

There are dozens of other timing, error settings, thresholds that can be programmed into the right model of disk so it has the same operational characteristics of the same drive model that has the dell firmware, if you have the right software (like I do) , but programming the Vendor/product IDs is flat out illegal and considered theft of intellectual property, so I won't go down that path for any reason.

But programming operating characteristics and settings is fair use.  So if you can confirm whether or not it will talk to the right model of drive that doesn't have the dell firmware, then people who are into such things can reprogram the drive to run with the same runtime characteristics and algorithms (in general, always possibility there is some secret sauce, but that is rare, especially since dell supports several different make/models)
MLAN_ConsultingAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the extensive reply I appreciate it. So you suggest going with the Dell certified from Dell or authorized reseller? Sounds like it was a fluke and risky that the Samsung drives even worked from what you're saying?
Well, it depends on make/model of the Samsung drives and their factory settings.  They could be well within the specs, and you may have gotten lucky. I don't know without running some analysis code on them ;)

But if you want to insure that when, not if, disks fail and you get into error recovery scenarios with multiple bad blocks, or contiguous bad blocks, you cant possibly get it done properly with consumer drives. The programmable settings that must be made aren't reconfigurable on those drives (at least not anymore).   They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars qualifying disks and tuning them, all for the benefit of their customers.  Off the shelf disks have off-the-shelf parameters, and are so general that one can easily even change performance +/- 25% by tweaking them.

So sorry about the fuzzy answer.  Maybe best to say Dell will work perfectly.  Same disk drive w/o dell firmware can probably be programmed to work exactly like Dell's,  off-the-shelf consumer disks guarantee data loss in numerous scenarios.

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MLAN_ConsultingAuthor Commented:
Awesome thank you very much for your help with this.
Just so I am clear, you have an off-the-shelf Samsung drive HD204UI, and it was not the Dell variation, and it didn't complain?  Not only that, but this particular drive has a nasty bug that when it responds to a Identify device command (which does what you think it does), it destroys one block of data.  A firmware update came out earlier in the year.  

So get those disks out of there.  Certainly every time you power up the disk it will issue the command. I don't know the details where the bad block goes, or if it is random, but if the bad block is always at the same location, where you have data, then a power cycle will likely destroy data.   The disks probably worked because of the bad block bug that caused a diversion ;)

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