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PowerEdge R710 Server & 4TB Hard Drives

Posted on 2013-06-12
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Have a Dell PE R710 and 6x 4TB Western Digital RE hard drives.

Right now I have no controller connected to the backplane, just the drives in the slots.  When I power up the server, the drives don't show any power.

Does a controller need to be connected to the backplane for the drives to show power?

If it does, what controller should I use that will successfully drive the 4TB SATA Hot Plug Drives in a RAID 5 configuration.
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Question by:tech911
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21 Comments
 
LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39242887
"Does a controller need to be connected to the backplane for the drives to show power?"

No, I don't think so, although I can't say that I've ever had an inkling or need to connect drives to a backplane with no controller :)

The only Dell-validated controllers that can see/use >2TB disks is the H200, S300, and H700.  Personally, I would only consider the H700.  However, non-certified drives can be hit/miss - no all off-the-shelf disks work as one would expect, and if this will be a mission-critical machine, then I'd probably advise against using non-certified drives.  Not sure if Dell has validated any 4TB drives for this system/controller.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39242903
These are the drives I am using:

Part No. WD4000FYYZ

Description: WESTERN DIGITAL - NEW WITH FULL MFG WARRANTY. RE 4TB 7200RPM SATA-6GBPS 64MB BUFFER 3.5INCH INTERNAL HARD DISK DRIVE (WD4000FYYZ)

They are enterprise drives.

Where can I look to see if they are supported?
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39242924
Western Digital has tested them and lists the H700 and the R710 on its compatibility list.  I can't find any indication that Dell has certified a version of that model, so if they don't support it, then they will be limited in what they can/will do for you if you have a storage-related issue you call Support about.  So, if you can get by without Dell's help with potential storage issues down the road, then you can take WD's word for it that it has been tested to work.

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/cs/2579-771897.pdf
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39243165
The RE4s are going to be problematic with that controller.  WD does NOT do data integrity testing, they pretty much just make sure controller doesn't reject them.

Why not save the $500+ on the controller, and go native software RAID1 for boot, software RAID10 for other 4?

This will be much faster than the H700 for most I/O, and no compatibility issues.  Not only that but buying an inexpensive LSI SAS/SATA JBOD controller instead will give you enough money to buy additional HDDs for extra usable capacity, plus more RAM.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39243169
The RE4s are going to be problematic with that controller.  WD does NOT do data integrity testing, they pretty much just make sure controller doesn't reject them.

Why not save the $500+ on the controller, and go native software RAID1 for boot, software RAID10 for other 4?

This will be much faster than the H700 for most I/O, and no compatibility issues.  Not only that but buying an inexpensive LSI SAS/SATA JBOD controller instead will give you enough money to buy additional HDDs for extra usable capacity, plus more RAM.

Hmm, realized you have a  limit on the max size of bootable disk, so actually I would buy a small pair of SSDs and use them for boot & swap and any files that need screaming fast I/O like a few index files.  You'll come out way ahead and money you save on controller will still cover cost of a pair of SSDs.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39243239
I'm not recommending one use the RE4's on the H700, but as to your comment on what WD does/doesn't do for testing, their compatibility sheet says:

The chipsets, host adapters, RAID controllers, enclosures and Operating Systems listed below have been tested with WD drives for data integrity, interoperability, and
compatibility, and any special conditions observed are noted in the comments section of the list below. WD makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the compatibility,
performance or reliability of these products.


You may both be referring to two different things there, but there it is.

Also, the money you might save (maybe $100-200) with an LSI HBA ($250-350, near as I can tell) over the H700 ($400-$500) wouldn't even buy an extra disk (at $400), but might get a couple of cheap SSD's for OS/boot, OR 16-32GB more RAM, but not all of the above :)
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39243272
Well, the 3TB Seagate ES enterprise drive goes for less than half the 4TB RE4 drive Approx $200 and is a better fit because it is qualified family by LSI.   Or even the 3TB SAS drive which is much, much better than the WD 4TB SATA costs about the same as the RE4.

So go with a pair of 2 x 2TB seagate ES2/3 enterprise constellation drives with the non-RAID LSI and you can get a 2TB RAID1 for "free" and make it the boot, and get better I/O. But agreed, probably can't get the RAM unless you go parity, which I do not recommend. You want ECC memory on a server.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39248525
Good news... Picked up an H700, saw the drives no problem.  Looks like it should work fine.

Bad news... Need to update the firmware.

Would like to do it BEFORE installing my ESXi 5.0 OS

Thus can anybody provide instructions on creating a bootable USB (can be linux) that will allow me to update update the firmware without installing an OS on my RAID array.

Any help would be great.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39248538
support.dell.com has details and a program that lets you update firmware from a bootable image.  Just go there and enter the ID code for your system, tell it you are running LINUX in the O/S field, and you should see link to program & release notes.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39248548
P.S. READ release notes, better yet call dell. It will be free. Reason is that you have already plugged the disks into this controller, and it may have made changes to metadata. You need to find out whether disks should be plugged in at the time.  Also there is a change firmware update could destroy data on the drives.

Best to have them walk you through this seeing as you just bought the product through them.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39248583
I will read up and try it.  There is no data on drives, the RAID array hasn't even been created yet, its not in production, so there is nothing to destroy.

Will update later.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39248652
Since you don't care about data, then no big deal.  just plug that controller into a working windows system that has a free slot and use the easy windows software to update it.  No need to worry about having to connect disks to it. Just need to plug in the controller and go for it.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39248863
OK... So you know how it is, now I am like a dog with a bone and I can't let it go.

I want to create bootable USB drive, then run the firmware updates from it.

i have the updates, extracted them, have a USB (Under 2GB's so that it is bootable), so now I just need to know how to make the usb bootable and put the firmware updates on there so I can execute the update.
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

by:
David earned 2000 total points
ID: 39248913
you can go to http://www.pendrivelinux.com and they have freebie software to automate creating a bootable USB drive for whatever flavor of LINUX you desire. Very fast & easy and this can be built from a windows system.

They even have links to making a windows or dos bootable USB, whatever O/S you prefer to use.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39249043
Nice...

Worked perfectly.

My firmware is updated, the controller "sees" each drive a 3.78TB, when done, I will have 10TB Useable, that should work just fine.

Thanks for the followup and the help.
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LVL 3

Author Closing Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39249045
Read entire post for better info/context.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39249176
You can also use Dell's 32-bit Diagnostics utility, which creates a bootable USB for running diagnostics, but you can put the firmware update on it, exit to command line, and execute the update:

http://ftp.dell.com/FOLDER82851M/1/DIAGS_APP_WIN_R284094.EXE
http://ftp.dell.com/FOLDER00394559M/5/SAS_RAID_H700I_12.10.4-0001_A10_ZPE.exe

Also, I'm not sure that 39248913 is the most appropriate answer to this question, as it was which controller to use, not how to update the firmware ... no big deal, just saying :)
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39253123
Roger that.

I will try to do better next time.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39253165
Like I said, not a big deal ... just glad you got working what you set out to.
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LVL 3

Author Comment

by:tech911
ID: 39253202
Just an FYI since you are the poweredgetech...

When you get the "Hot Plug Sleds" for the R710, on each side where you put the screws in there are two a holes marked SATA. If you put your drive in the sled using those holes, the drive is installed too deeply in the tray to make contact with the backplane connector.

This was the reason for the "no power to the drives"

After I moved all the drives to a set of holes that allowed the drive to sit even with the end of the sled they were able to connect with the backplane and power up.

A simple, error, but frustrating until you figure it out.

So, if you see the "no power to drives in an R710, ask if the drive is even with the end of the sled or if it is sitting back about 1/2", and if its the latter, tell them they have the drive installed in the sled improperly.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:PowerEdgeTech
ID: 39253367
The drive alignment issue has certainly come up before, but drive incompatibility is more commonly the actual problem (not that covering the "basics" isn't a good idea, it just sometimes gets pushed aside by the larger issues).
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