I purchased two additional SAS drives for my Dell R710 without realizing that the SAS backplane only supports 4 drives. The face plate of the server supports six 3.5 "drives, 4 of which are 2.5" drives in 3.5" drive caddys.

How do I go about replacing the drive baseboard which will allow me to use these two additional drives?

EDIT: How do I go about getting the right part number for a 6x SAS backplane to replace the 4x backplane?

EDIT: Reference pasted picture from R710 owners manual.
SAS Backplane

  • Are you speaking about a R720 (as by question title) or a R710 (as by question body)? – shodanshok Nov 15 '16 at 7:12
  • @shodanshok sorry. That was a typo. – gh0st Nov 15 '16 at 7:16

What do you mean with 'drive baseboard' ?

If you are concerned about your RAID card having only four SAS/SATA links, please consider that either the RAID card provide multilane SAS (1 connector carries 2/4 SAS links) or the server disk backplane integrate a SAS expander to provide more (in your case, six) downstream ports.

In other words, you should have no problem installing your new drives.

UPDATE: ok, so you have a backplane limited to only 4 SAS units. You need to replace your backplane with something similar to that, but to be really sure you should contact DELL support. Fortunately, the W814D (6x SAS) seems quite cheap on Ebay so you can always try and see what happens.

Regarding the drive question (rightfully) raised by @gh0st: with a PERC H200/H700, equipped with modern (release date > 2013) firmware release, you can use whatever drive you want (both SAS and SATA).

  • 'Drive baseboard' was not the correct term. It's actually a SAS backplane. Please see edit to original question. – gh0st Nov 14 '16 at 22:20

"Getting the right part number" generally would involve talking to somebody at Dell, or a reseller. You can also troll through the technical information that Dell provides on their website, but honestly when faced with similar snipe hunts in the past, I would have had better luck trolling eBay for keywords; in this case "Dell R710 Backplane". A cursory glance tells me "W814D" is the part#. But I am not endorsing that, YMMV, please do your own research.

All of that being said:

Generally Dell doesn't ship machines like that. If it has 6 bays open on the front, it will have a 6-bay SAS backplane installed. Depending on how things were originally ordered, they might not have cabled the second upstream port on the backplane; but I would find that suspicious too.

I would make sure all the SFF cables are in place, and what they are being cabled to (could one be going to a PERC and another to an onboard port or something equally weird/dumb?)

  • This was a refurbished unit. I can add further pictures taken after the drives were installed. – gh0st Nov 14 '16 at 23:34
  • its also worth noting that some generations of dell hardware don't let you add third party drives. You have to get drives from Dell for compatibility sake. I can't remember if that nightmare extended as recently as the R710s, but I know some of the parallel-generation PowerVault stuff was that way. – peelman Nov 14 '16 at 23:36

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