I would like to use my own drives in the Dell PowerVault MD3000i.

Does anyone know if you are able to?

We are looking at different SANs for our VM farm and would rather be able to replace a drive in 10 minutes. This will also reduce the cost of drives significantly.

Also, if anyone has any good experience with other SANs that let you use your own drives.

Thank you.


There are only a limited number of drives that are certified - non certified drives wont be recognized by the array and will not work even if they are otherwise identical to the drives already in the array. For SATA drives you will also need an interposer that allows the MD3000i controller to interface with the SATA drives. If you can precisely match the drive type and firmware revision then the array will definitely recognize the drives but you may have trouble with support later if they see that the array configuration does not match their records.

I've never tried it though and its not the sort of thing to just take a chance on. As David Collantes says you should get Dell to confirm whether they will support this or not and I'd add that if they say it's OK then get that in writing . I would be surprised if they do but they might be flexible given the entry level nature of the MD3Ki, what I can say for certain is that they do not support non-Dell supplied drives on their Equallogic range.

  • >There are only a limited number of drives that are certified - non >certified drives wont be recognized by the array and will not work I've seen quite a few drives actually working with no problems, in several different storage boxes. Including Dell's stuff. Still not supported of course. – dyasny Apr 13 '10 at 20:18

My own experience with other vendors has been that they will swear up and down that other drives won't work...then, of course, I tried it, and it worked fine.

Of course, if this is for enterprise usage, you should not use your own. The reason is that the drives that they sell (with the high markup) have specific firmwares that disable disk caching, and probably other things that I'm not aware of.

  • 3
    In some cases the specific firmware includes features for de-duping data on a block level (e.g. NetApps does that). – wolfgangsz Aug 23 '09 at 19:00

If the unit is still under support, the replacement drives are free. Call Dell and they will send out someone with a new drive (time will depend on your support agreement). I've done this a few times with our SAN that we bought from Dell.

  • We bought a 2hr response time on our poweredges. I assume you can get it for powervaults too, which is probably quicker than rushing put to get another, esp. out of business hours. It was a damn sight cheaper than a cisco 24x7x4 warranty as well. – Mark Henderson Aug 23 '09 at 20:34
  • They sell it for all the business products I believe. Since everything on our systems is redundant, and I'm an hour from the CoLo (minimum) we went with the 4 hours response since I can't get they any faster than that anyway most of the time. – mrdenny Aug 23 '09 at 21:45

Might work, but not supported. If you run into trouble, the dell tech will demand you remove everything non-Dell provided from the MD. And without those disks a disk array is not usable, and troubleshooting is not possible.


David, the text provided on Dell's website only indicates that you can mix SAS and SATA drives that are purchased from Dell within a given PowerVault chassis. It does not mean that you can use non-Dell drives in this unit. The License Agreement that accompanies the hardware details this limitation.


I have the exactly the same problem with you. And I have to tell you the answer is: no

This comes from the dell document

NOTE: Only Dell-provided physical disks are supported. Physical disks not purchased from Dell will be marked as uncertified and will not be usable. Refer to the MD3000i Drivers and Downloads section for the latest available physical disk firmware.

which you can check in here:



MD3000i only accepts DELL certified disks. There is not secure way to add thirf party physical disks even with same model because the firmware is owned by DELL (both SAN and disk).

  • Can you source this? I'm under the impression that Dell fixed that in a firmware update after enough people raised hell about it. – HopelessN00b Oct 8 '12 at 2:06

i know this is an old thread, but i thought i'd provide a real experience.

i have an md3000i and i looked up the exact model of drives needed based on the support matrix - it did not take the drives. get certified drives.

i got lucky and didn't realize that i was still under support contract so they sent out a fresh drive and caddy with interposer board.

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