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I'd like to add a couple SATA drives (1TB+ each) as RAID 10 to my PE 2950.

Dell's website lists some 1TB drives that are quite expensive. Are there any advantages of using those over a HDD purchased on newegg or similar retailer? Or does Dell pretty much take a Seagate drive, rebrand it as a Dell, and mark it up?

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Dupe of serverfault.com/questions/86790/… –  womble Dec 6 '09 at 0:03
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The hard drives that you purchase from Dell are no different from those purchased from Newegg/CDW/etc. The only difference is that if you purchase from Dell, your likelihood of being able to make a warranty claim on the drive is much higher than if purchased elsewhere.

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"Much higher" being "non zero". –  womble Dec 6 '09 at 0:04
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Many times the drives are a specific hardware/firmware revision that has been QA'd to work with the controller. For the most part, the drives are the same, but trying to get support from them with third party drives will be a nightmare –  MDMarra Dec 6 '09 at 0:26
    
@womble: I've had dell replace non dell drives that failed (more than once). Didn't even blink when I said the drive was 176GB not the originally shipped 36GB. We do spend a metric crap-ton with dell and i did fail to mention it wasn't a dell drive, soo YMMV. –  Zypher Jan 29 '10 at 19:53
    
I want to update my experience with this question. Since asking the question, I have added additional SATA drives to my PowerEdge 2950. Everything worked flawlessly. I purchased Dell CC852 trays and PN939 interposers for two Western Digital RE3 drives. It was a breeze to set the drives up in RAID 1. –  Jim Geurts Feb 12 '10 at 0:49
    
Since that last update, I have added two Western Digital Caviar Black SATA drives as another RAID 1 setup. Everything works perfectly. –  Jim Geurts Feb 2 '11 at 3:36
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Physically they are the same. They have a custom firmware that ensure 100% compatibility with both the RAID controllers and other disks from the same manufacturer. Consumer grade disk firmwares often change many times in the same model line and mixing different firmwares in the same array might lead to problems (though today the controllers are more tolerant than they used to be).

Also note that the PERC6 is as SAS controller; while it can tunnel SATA commands the signaling at physical level is a bit different: SATA uses a lower voltage. You should use an interposer for plugging in SATA disks on the SAS backplane (AFAIK direct use of SATA drives on the PERC6 is unsupported according to DELL); that said, the disks will probably work just fine - but in case of troubles you're on your own.

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I used some unsupported SATA drives in a RAID enclosure and while they work, we have issues booting the server sometimes. When the server boots, the RAID initializes and sometimes not all of the drives turn on. It usually requires a cold boot and then a warm reboot (or two) to get it going. Which drive(s) don't turn on is pretty random. Has been as many as 3 that don't turn on initially.

With the supported drives (that were smaller) everything worked fine. We contacted the server/raid manufacturer and the issue may be addressed in a future firmware update to the RAID, but we aren't sure.

For the application we used these drives for this was acceptable, but there are definitely applications and data that we would not be comfortable with a similar situation.

So really it depends on how important the service and data is that are relying on those drives. What kind of compatibility and support requirements do you have?

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