I have various Dell servers (all 2950's) I would like to put some SSDs in. I have spoken to Dell on the phone and asked for a quote for 128GB SSDs for 2950's, they told me they don't sell them for this server.

These all have Perc 6/i's in them. Can I purchase any SSDs with a SATA II connection, of my liking, and connect this? Or will they be "blocked", or not work as expected because they don't have Dell firmware on them?

I have had (minor) issues before with HDDs that aren't Dell branded on Perc 5/i cards. They did work perfectly well (I sourced the exact same make and model drive as the failed original Dell ones, and bought them from a third party vendor), but at boot time the server would always display an warning about hard drive compatibilities (I assume was just being passed up to the OS by the RAID controller to scare me?).

  • can you tell what drive type - sata/scsi and model were you having the minor problem with? thx! – pQd Aug 10 '12 at 11:05
  • Sadly no, that was several years ago, in a bunch of 1950's. I was swapping the original 500GB SATA II drives that came from dell with some 1TB drives, which I purchased from the same manufacture, same product line, but the 1TB version. They worked just fine for a fraction of the price Dell ship them at. I would like to do this again, although I am not replacing some existing SSDs, but adding some from scratch. – jwbensley Aug 10 '12 at 11:09
  • WD raid edition i guess? – pQd Aug 10 '12 at 11:40
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    Just three notes from me: 1) If you are considering SATA SSDs over SAS HDDs, then please consider that SAS seems to recover a lot better from faults. 2) I have at least one HW RAID card which had issues with a SSD (not a dell, a 3ware9750 and the send start up command to the drives. A intel postville G2 76GiB SSD did not like that). Thus, if possible: Test first. 3) I never had problems putting non Dell drives into modern dell SAS/RAID cards. Given Dells drive prices I always buy my drives elsewhere. – Hennes Aug 10 '12 at 12:54
  • Good info Hennes and +1 regard the SAS recovery, I find this is better of spinning disks also. – jwbensley Aug 10 '12 at 16:15

Dell were, for a while, actively blocking third-party drives from their controllers. However, they stopped that pretty quick (probably due to the outcry), and now are just content to make the same profit margins on the sleds. I don't have any direct experience with SSDs on PERC 6/i, but if it doesn't work, make loud enough noises at Dell and they'll fix it (I believe a firmware update on the RAID card may be required in some limited circumstances to get rid of the naughty blacklisting shenanigans).

  • I have read this else where recently. Thanks Womble, this is exactly what I suspected! :) – jwbensley Aug 10 '12 at 16:16
  • @womble Actually, if you have a firmware version that does the blacklist thing, you must upgrade the firmware to get rid of the blacklist nastiness. Or so is my experience with a bunch of the newer PowerVaults, and the experiences of my friends at other Dell shops around my home city. – HopelessN00b Aug 10 '12 at 23:14
  • @HopelessN00b: I expected it would be, but I don't like to make unqualified assertions without conclusive evidence, and I don't know for certain that it would be required -- there might be a magic bit to twiddle in some config somewhere to make it work on some RAID cards. – womble Aug 11 '12 at 11:07

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