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My Dell PowerEdge 1950 has 2x 3.5inch 146Gb SAS attached to a PERC 5/I Raid controller card in a raid1 configuration.

I want to replace these with 2x 2TB SATA drives which the Dell documentation says the Server can accept.

My questions are: Can I just go and buy these drives and install them without any addition hardware or software?

I've come across SATA-150, SATA-300 and SATA-600 drives, which are appropriate?

I'll probably be using EASEUS Backup Server (http://www.todo-backup.com/business/server-backup.htm) to do this, any thoughts on this?

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

Hopefully you should be able to reuse your drive trays but remove them and check they have two sets of 4 holes, one for SATA and one for SAS.

If you have the trays that only have holes for SAS you will either need to purchase the interposer cards or different trays. (E.g. to use tray CC852 with SATA you will need interposer PN939, or if you have tray F9541 (I believe also NF467/H9122/G9146/D981C) then no interposers needed).

The SAS backplane and SAS controller will work fine with regular SATA drives. No need for interposer cards for signalling - these help if you have SAS and SATA on the same backplane as the higher voltage SAS signals may not get along with lower voltage SATA).

You've picked 2Tb drives which is the limit of the PERC 5/6. The only issue remaining is whether to purchase Dell drives or not. Dell drives cost a lot more than non Dell drives. The only real difference is that a Dell drive has Dell optimised firmware, and (check with your account manager) Dell should support RAID issues with Dell supplied drives while they may point the finger at your 3rd party drives or even refuse to help.

I've managed to flash a batch of non Dell SAS drives to Dell firmware recently but this may vary from model to model (and possibly even dependant on the firmware the drive comes with). I've only done this for my peace of mind regarding stability rather than to try and trick Dell regarding support though.

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You should be okay to install which ever drives match the configuration. You just need to transfer the sleds from the old drives to the new ones as they are proprietary.

Also make sure that if your backplane is SAS you get SAS drives or SATA if SATA etc.

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3  
A SAS backplane always supports SATA drives. –  Shane Madden Mar 22 '11 at 16:15
    
Buy also the SATA cables! –  lg. Mar 22 '11 at 16:21
    
@Shane not exactly. The older ones required converter cards. And in any case, using a SATA disk on a SCSI bus means you're not in native mode, and you'll suffer additional conversion overheads. –  dyasny Mar 22 '11 at 16:39
  1. Would be best, support-wise, if you got those drives from Dell, with the caddies. Might be rather overpriced though. But you'll know you're getting disks guaranteed to work in your system
  2. For the older PERC5i controllers, you might need a converter. They call it "interposer card" at Dell. Without it, the drives might not get recognised.
  3. No need for additional cables of course.
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Thanks, I've contacted Dell but I'm wary of paying too much for harddrives. Performance is not a concern here, once the drives are in RAID 1 I'm happy. Similarly with interposer card, I don't want to buy one only to find out I don't need it! –  ShaneH Mar 22 '11 at 17:09
    
As a side note, as far as I'm aware, you can't buy the drive trays independently from Dell and you can't of course find them anywhere else. Unless you've got spare trays you may have no choice but to purchase the drives from Dell. –  joeqwerty Mar 23 '11 at 2:07
    
In addition, cost shouldn't be the only factor and may not even be the most important factor. Drives purchased from Dell are certified to work in your server and are fully supported by Dell. Drives from any other vendor are not. –  joeqwerty Mar 23 '11 at 2:09
    
You're running a server. Look at proper hardware as a business investment, as opposed to the huge downtime cost in case of unsupported hardware fail. Having worked in server support, I can tell you for certain - most vendors will just tell you you're way out of support putting in non-vendor hardware. Specifically Dell, will probably tell you to remove those drives and run diags, before they even start troubleshooting, which is better than sending you away, but still not too nice when a production sevrer is down –  dyasny Mar 24 '11 at 9:06

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