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Hard Drive Shortage affecting drives I can get for my server

Posted on 2012-03-14
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Dell t710 Power Edge that we use as a VMware ESXi server at a customer site and I went with a Raid 5 hot swap environment using 5 x 300G, SAS6, 10K, 2.5, SEAGATE.. as the drives for this system.  5 drives in total.  System has been GREAT!  Knocking on wood as we speak.  We lost a single drive at bank 0 early on but with hot swap and a spare the system performed perfectly with a swap of a drive and away we went.

I am now running out of storage on this system due to groath of VM machines on the system etc. I have plenty of room to add like 12 or more drives with the way this chassis is setup.  But when I went to Dell my rep tells me that they will not sell me a hard drive due to the shortage everyone is experiencing.  OK!  not so happy. :-(  He proceeds to tell me that Support has a limited amount of drives even if one were to fail AND I could buy a whole new system and get drives that way.   Now I am mad when he tells me that.!!!

I have some other suppliers I can get SAS drives through.  But they are HP or IBM......  For instance IBM 300GB SAS 2.5IN SFF 15K RPM 6GBPS Hot Swap Hard Drive.  

My concern is that this unit
a.  will not have the same connectors etc.  No problem regarding RAILS for the drives as I have plenty of those.
b.  I could void some sort of warranty with Dell regarding the server RAID controller if I go with a NON Dell drive.
c.  Some sort of incompatibility/grumpyness from the controller or firmware therefore affecting my other drives already in use and causing huge catastrophic problems.

My rep has not been so helpful at Dell, and experiance in the past I hesitate to contact support as if they get wind of what I am thinking of doing that will cause issue with the warranty I just extended for 3 years.  Don't need that.

The hard drive issue looks to go into 2013 for the industry.

I have thought of going to a ISCSI external type of storage unit and therefore bypassing the issue alltogether, but then again I bought this server with ample room and expansion in mind and should not have to spend additional money on yet another device.

Thoughts or recommendations welcomed.!

Thanks
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Question by:X-spook
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11 Comments
 
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
IanTh earned 334 total points
ID: 37721749
if you have a free pci-e slot you can put in another raid controller and set that up with as many drivces as you can in a raid 10 or 50 or 60 and add that as a new datastore by adding it in viclient
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37721758
in regard of warranty they are just being supid you own the server your not going to call them with regard to anything that didn't come under their warranty are you lol
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Author Comment

by:X-spook
ID: 37721785
Good solution.  I am pretty sure that I do have an expansion slot open.  

I was just trying to leverage the one I already have and PAID a small fortune for along with the hot-swap front panel tray system that is in place.

I will have to crack open the box and verify if the hot swap back-plane would let me reroute separate drives to a separate controller.

And of course I would never call for something they did not include in the initial.  I am gun shy from past experiences though where we have modified something like a controller and then all they do is blame it for the failure etc.

Thanks
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:IanTh
IanTh earned 334 total points
ID: 37721835
does your existing controller have any spare data connectors

mind you having a seperate raid controller should mean better performance as a raid controller does the number crunching for the raid so you can use both datastores for vm's
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 37722183
Dell may use custom firmware but they haven't in the past although they used to re-size the disks a little bit smallr to guarantee compatability, people are using generic disks in Dells (you wouldn't be able to buy the caddies if not) so it ought to work. The connectors are the same. I wouldn't use HP ones since I know HP do have their own firmware on them.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 37723620
I have bought OEM Seagate drives and stuck them in my Dell server without issues. As long as you can get the drive caddies, you should be okay. This only works for their servers, not their storage arrays. I beleive that all of their storage arrays require specific firmware. (Though my EqualLogic arrays have drives from both Seagate and Hitachi in them, they can still be looking for specific firmware).
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Assisted Solution

by:X-spook
X-spook earned 0 total points
ID: 37726744
Well yesterday was funny.

So the machine in question drops a drive in the array.  Call to Dell support and I have a new 300GB SAS drive in my hands to repair the down drive.  Hot Swap in the new one with a rebuild and all is good to go.

When talking with the tech about my thoughts for the additional storage he tells me that I should not go with other drives and trying to use the current controller.  

I explained to him that even though the drive has a DELL label it is a Seagate drive that they are just branding to them.

I was then informed that if I want to maintain my mission critical warranty that I should not go with other drives except those provided by DELL.

So I got my answer. :-(

I suppose if I wanted I could by the Seagate drives direct but then my customer would be in a bad situation if a drive goes down and the aftermarket supplier has no stock then there would be big trouble for all involved.

I am just going to build an external ISCSI device or SAN and go in that direction.

Thank you all for your responses and this leaves a sour taste in my mouth for Dell at the moment and that is coming from a Premier Partner.
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LVL 55

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 166 total points
ID: 37726984
Why not trade in the Dell server with HP or IBM? They'll give you a reasonable amount of cashback for the "upgrade" just to get you using their tin.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:IanTh
ID: 37727023
premier partner ? for how long ?

I use dell percs 6i for my esx server and like them and do not use dell drives at all I prefare samsung
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Author Comment

by:X-spook
ID: 37727406
Premier for the past 5 years.

The key factor here I think is the mission critical warranty with 4 hour Responce and wanting to maintain that intact for this client.

If the client would go for it without the MC warranty then we would be good to go as I can get many other options.  But because of the nature of the vm's on the machine they require that Responce level.  I suppose I could just by extra drives and leave them sealed on the shelf just in case but.........

I get dell's point but does not make it easier to swallow.

I have been thinking of a SAN for this environment for a while due to the other servers at this site and non expansion capabilities for them.  Also have been looking at some of the newer NAS units with ISCSI options built in.

Thanks again.  I will be closing and awarding points shortly.
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Author Closing Comment

by:X-spook
ID: 37741278
Thanks for the input from all.
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