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I'm trying to convert our SaaS platform to SSDs for performance reasons, and wanted to use the new Intel DC3500. But our Dell SAN only accepts authorized Dell drives, and their only options are eMLC and cost 5x as much. Our workload is primarily reads and doesn't require multi-petabyte write endurance.

Are there any SAN vendors that do not use firmware to block third party drives?

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closed as off-topic by Sven, Dave M, Nathan C, Falcon Momot, Bryan Jul 7 '13 at 19:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – Sven, Dave M, Nathan C, Falcon Momot, Bryan
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What types of hosts are you serving? How many? – ewwhite Jul 7 '13 at 11:46
Undoubtedly there are, but alas, product recommendations are not on topic here. – Falcon Momot Jul 7 '13 at 17:40
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The HP P2000 SAN units can accept SSDs in their D2700 expansion enclosures. That's a decent way around this. The P2000 itself doesn't officially support SSDs, but people use them anyway.

12 x Corsair Force GS 360GB, no problems recognizing them. That's why I chose the HP, no drive restrictions or firmware locked crap.

But rather than put the SSDs in the SAN, have you considered host-based caching options?

Another approach is to use a tiering solution in front of your SAN. Use a NexentaStor box loaded with several SSDs in L2ARC to tier your hot data and keep the existing SAN for bulk storage.

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Thanks for the suggestion. But I checked HO's site, and all their SSD options are as over-specified and expensive as the Dell options. We will probably implement caching tier(s) at some point, but I was hoping for a fairly cheap quick upgrade that would buy some extra runway. – Josh Yeager Jul 7 '13 at 13:59
You can use non-HP SSDs in their D2700 enclosure shelf, which attaches to the P2000. Please see my edits and this question on ServerFault:… – ewwhite Jul 7 '13 at 14:33
Thanks for the extra detail! I couldn't find anything to indicate that would work. – Josh Yeager Jul 7 '13 at 14:50

None of the big ones no, why would they? most of their margin comes from the mark up they make on drives. That's why there are software-only SAN solutions such as FreeNAS etc. that DO let you use whatever you like. The world needs both markets.

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I don't mind the markup. My problem is that none of them offer a low-end SSD option for users that don't need huge write endurance. – Josh Yeager Jul 7 '13 at 14:02
That said, thanks for the FreeNAS suggestion. I'll take a look. – Josh Yeager Jul 7 '13 at 14:11
FreeNAS is ace so long as you can live with its limitations. Some people swear by NexentaStore too - costs but is very flexible. – Chopper3 Jul 7 '13 at 17:39

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