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Our last Lenovo server failed recently. At this point, we're thinking of buying a more reliable rack mounted server under a 1000 USD. The system we have zeroed in on is a Rack Server by Dell (Model R230, in case that matters) .

Question: Can I add my own hard drives (2 x 3.5" SATA HGST drives in RAID 0 config) to newer dell servers? The server comes with a 500 Gb Hard Drive.

The use case is a small group of people (approx 5) using this machine to access a sql server / Postgres database and a simple Django web app to upload files to the server.

Additional Detail - Sysadmin thinks that BYOD is a bad idea because dell hard drives are optimized for dell servers.

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Nah, feel free to bring your own drive to a Dell server. Dell will not help you if you have a RAID/disk related issue unless you remove the 3rd party disks, but they should work just fine.

On an additional note, I believe that Dell will not let you order a server without ordering at least one drive.

You will also want to get good quality caddies for the 3rd party disks. We have literally hundreds of 3rd party caddies in use in Dell servers and a non-trivial number of them have faulty catches, which means that the disk can literally eject itself from the server if you bump it.

I don't know where your person is getting the idea that Dell hard drives are somehow special - they're just Seagate drives with a Dell sticker on them. They will usually make sure they ship with up-to-date firmware on the drives, but that's not usually an issue.

That said though - sounds like you are not the systems administrator. You should probably just let them do their thing if it makes their life easier. There is something to be said for letting your vendor handle everything, including disk troubleshooting/replacement, and the cost of 3.5" disks direct from Dell is usually reasonable. Yes, there is a price premium, but price isn't everything.

Also: If you RAID0 these, please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please make sure you a) have good, up to date, regular tested backups, and b) Can eat the downtime while you source a replacement disk and restore your backups

  • Thanks. I'm letting the sysadmin pick the machine right now (he's got more experience with these things than I do). I picked the last machine and it died on us 1 month after the warranty expired! – Alok Shenoy May 24 '17 at 17:55
  • @AGS don't forget when you order that server, the R230 is a really, really basic config for the included price. I don't even know if it includes a drive bay, so make sure you at least option up the correct disk bay (you'll probably want 4x hot-plug drives) – Mark Henderson May 24 '17 at 17:59

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