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First, I do agree that what I'm asking here is certainly unsupported by either HP or Dell.

I'm just exploring some options here.

The scenario: We have a server, a Dell PowerEdge 2950, running SQL Server. This poor old server has been repeatedly brought to its knees every month-closing. Simply because the drives within are toooo durn slow. Something needs to be done with the storage.

The long-term solution: We're going to virtualize the server, backed by SAN Storage. We're purchasing an EMC Storage Array, but that will take some time (6-8 weeks) before we actually have the array, so in the meantime, a 'quick-win' solution is necessary.

The situation: One of the IT Managers suggested purchasing HP PN 691856-B21 and test it running within the Dell server.

My Questions:

(1) I'm almost sure that HP's drive caddy will NOT fit into Dell's chassis, but I've yet to see any explicit statement for that. So, can someone explicitly confirm that the HP drive mentioned above cannot directly fit the PowerEdge 2950?

(2) My suggested solution would be to purchase off-the-shelf SATA SSD drives and use Dell PN CC852 (caddy) and Dell PN PN939 (interposer), but first I want to know if this is a good idea.

Do remember that this solution is just to work around the performance problem until the EMC Storage Array arrives. So I'm not keen on a too-expensive solution.

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1) We have a mix of Dell and HP servers on site here and I can confirm that a HP drive caddy will not fit a Dell Chassis.

2) As an interim step, fitting a commodity SSD drive in a Dell caddy should work just fine, with the SAS->SATA adapter you specify.

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Why was the HP drive suggested in the first place? That doesn't make any sense; especially that model. It's a terribly-expensive (overpriced) HP-branded 2.5" SSD (OEM by Samsung or Sandisk) in an HP 3.5" carrier. It only fits a small subset of HP's server offerings and DEFINITELY doesn't fit the Dell server you have.

The Dell PowerEdge 2950 is also old, but its controller is likely LSI-based. Does your 2950 system have 2.5" disks or 3.5" disks? That's going to determine what your SSD options are. Also, I wouldn't bother with an interposer for this purpose.

Edit: it looks like you're using 3.5" drives.

The real solution, provided that this impacts production, is to just wait for your SAN solution. I wouldn't introduce any weird variables like an un-raided consumer SSD in a 3.5" adapter carrier to a server that's already exhibiting signs of trouble. The "quick-win" could rapidly become a "quick-fail" if anything goes wrong.

Have you examined the Dell 2950 to find the root cause of your storage performance issue? If it has 3.5" disks, the likelihood is that you're running 15k RPM SAS drives. Those should provide relatively good random read/write access. If write performance is the issue, have you checked the health or presence of a battery-backed cached unit on the RAID controller?

  • Thanks for the tips! Don't worry, I won't go without RAID, and the database on the server itself is actually derived from a clustered 'master' database, and regularly backed up. So, even if the server is production, it's not critical. One or two days downtime is acceptable. – pepoluan Sep 9 '14 at 11:09

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