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I'm trying to upgrade the U320 SCSI hard drives on a Dell PowerEdge 2600 (400 Mhz Front Side Bus) for larger capacity hard drives. Unfortunately, the U320 SCSI drives only come in a maximum size of 300GB and they are extremely expensive compared to SATA drives. The P2600 doesn't support SATA drives, so I'm trying to figure out a way to give the server SATA drive compatibilty. I've been looking at PCI Express RAID controller cards, which seem like the best option. However, I'm concerned about power. If you have any suggestions with the RAID controller cards or another way to install SATA drives on the PowerEdge 2600 please let me know. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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6 Answers 6

Funny enough, I have one of these particular boat anchors sitting on the floor right here, right now. (I need to get it packed up and posted on eBay. Anybody want a PowerEdge 2600? I'll autograph it... heh heh...)

I put some thought into making it a "useful" machine, but realisticly there's no internal storage option that works well since you'd have to butcher the hot-swap backplane and, very probably, eliminate any hot-swap capability in so doing.

The box is extremely power inefficient compared to a modern box in terms of compute operations per watt. You can make a great business case for chucking it and buying a new machine that is much more energy efficient and will use SATA hard disk drives.

Edit:

If you want to put SATA drives into the sleds that come with the box you're going to have to remove part or all of the factory SCSI backplane. In the world that I work in a server computer that's had factory parts forcibly removed from it to add new "features" isn't a reliable server computer anymore.

You could get a controller with something like eSATA ports. If that controller had BIOS and RAID functionality you could certainly use it. You might have to disable the option ROM on one or the other, but you could boot off of either (assuming you can find an eSATA controller w/ RAID functionality and a bootable option ROM). (AFAIK that server doesn't have PCI Express slots. My box has things stacked on top of it right now and I cannot be bothered to look. That box is vintage 2003 - 2004, though, and I'd be shocked if it had PCI Express slots...)

Get a PCI Firewire card and stick some external disks on it if you absolutely have to keep using the machine.

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Well that was my original thought (buying a newer machine) and would cause less headaches, but the money just isn't available. Another thought I had was to buy two large internal SATA drives throw them in cases and then connect them to a PCI Express RAID controller. I'm sure that would bring them online, but would I have RAID 5 operation with the two SATA drives and the current drives already on the macihine? In other words, would the new RAID controller become the default and the other hard drives would become useless? –  Austin Dec 29 '09 at 0:25
    
Austin: You need at least three drives to do RAID 5 :-/ –  Matt Simmons Dec 29 '09 at 2:04

Evan is right in that you're limited by the bus on the machine. IIRC, that machine does have an external SCSI interface, so you could probably pick up a used external SCSI array ( http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=promise+vtrak&hl=en&show=dd&cid=11281307894183283885&sa=title#p ), throw drives in it, and use that.

It's not free, but it's probably cheaper than an entire new machine.

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You could look into a used Dell PowerVault storage array as well. stikc.com/Catalog/PowerVault-220S discountechnology.com/Dell-Powervault-220S-SCSI-Storage-Array eztradelive.com/home.php?cat=21 –  joeqwerty Dec 29 '09 at 3:55

The PowerEdge 2650 does not have PCI Express slots. It has PCI and PCI-X slots. From the Dell technical specs:

Expansion Bus

Bus type PCI/PCI-X

Expansion slots 3 dedicated PCI/PCI-X (full-length, 64-bit, 33/66/100/133 MHz; 2 slots on bus 1, and 1 slot on bus 2

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Well that's what I figured. Just dumping money into a black hole. As far as I see the only three options are to buy the 300GB internal drives, get a powervault/external array, or just replace it. In any case, thanks for the help everyone.

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It doesn't need to be a PowerVault array, but an external storage box is probably your best bet if you have to retain that machine. If your PERC in the box has external ports you can use any external SCSI JBOD enclosure to get additional disks in your RAID configuration. –  Evan Anderson Dec 29 '09 at 19:19

It is (or at least was) possible to order PERC5x cards for the PE28xx series, but 6th gen servers - I seriously doubt it.
//I actually also doubt those servers are at all supported by Dell, and are still not EOL, but that's besides the point here //


Anyhow, if all you want is to add sata drives to that old box, then you can try and use a simple PCI controller. You can forget about hotswapping disks though, and you'll have to come up with a place for those drives, since they are not built for the servers' backplane and caddies

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You could add up to 3 drives in the case where the Tape Drive is replacing it. Any regular PCI controller will work I used a cheap SIIG RAID 0 SATA controller with 4 ports. Leave the six drives bays unused 3 SATA drives can be 1.5T these days.

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