I recently acquired a Powervault MD3000i with several hard drives already installed, and was looking to see if it were possible to purchase additional hard drives without going directly though Dell. The links I found online for the supported hard drive matrix were broken.

Looking under the support section on Dell's website for the MD3000i (http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/powervault-md3000i/drivers), then filter for SAS drives, I found it lists firmware for the following:

  • Seagate SAS ST32000645SS and ST33000650SS
  • Hitachi SAS HUC106030CSS600 and HUC106060CSS600

Some of these drives are reasonably priced online so I was wondering if it was possible to purchase from another retailer and have them work in the Powervault MD3000i? Dell Support page

If it did not end up coming with the correct Dell firmware (i.e. it came with a generic firmware) woud it be possible to flash the correct firmware from Dell?

Here is a related question but it did not directly address the 4 SAS drives I found firmware for on Dell's website: Can you use your own drives on Dell PowerVault MD3000i?


I found a support matrix guide linked below for the supported hard drives, but am still looking to determine if these hard drives need to be purchased through Dell or if they can be purchased through a third party and then have Dell based firmware applied to them. http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_ser_stor_net/esuprt_powervault/powervault-md3000i_reference%20guide_en-us.pdf


I ended up speaking with Dell support regarding this issue and am adding this as an answer to help clarify this for others if they have the same question in the future.

It was determined that the drive MUST originally be from Dell and have factory installed Dell firmware. I has hoping that we could buy the same model hard drive and then flash it with the Dell firmware from the support page. However, they MUST be Dell branded to begin with. Once they are Dell branded you are able to upgrade the firmware that is on that hard drive.

We also determined that the backplane is SAS ONLY so all hard drive will need to be SAS in order to work directly. However the SATA drives can use a interposer board that will let it work with the PowerVault.

He recommended that we search for these hard drives from a third party reseller (xbyte, server supply, other used / new drives) by the Dell part number. Listed below are the Dell part numbers for all the 2TB compatible drives.

  • Dell Part# 6C10R = Hitachi (Ultrastar A7K2000) SATA 2TB 7.2K RPM HUA722020ALA330
  • Dell Part# R755K = Seagate (Constellation ES) SAS 2TB 7.2K RPM ST32000444SS
  • Dell Part# VGY1F = Seagate (Constellation ES) SATA 2TB 7.2K RPM ST32000644NS
  • Dell Part# J164R = Western Digital (EP500M) SATA 2TB 5.4K RPM WD2002FYPS-18U1B0
  • Dell Part# 2G4HM = Western Digital (EX500M) SATA 2TB 7.2K RPM WD2003FYYS-18W0B0

If the hard drives do not come with caddies, the Dell part number for the caddies is CC852, but if using SATA drives they need to have the interposer card which he was unable to give me a part number for.

For additional reference, the process to upgrade the firmware on one of the drives is as follows: (This is from the Dell support member I was working with)

  1. Ensure you have a tested backup of the data contained on the array
  2. It is highly recommended to gather support bundle from the "Support" tab of the MD Storage Manager before performing any firmware upgrade operations. Also recommend getting another support bundle after the upgrade is complete.
  3. You must stop all I/O going to the array
  4. Load MDSM to verify connectivity, then close MDSM but leave the main management screen open
  5. From the main management screen in MDSM use the “upgrade raid controller firmware” on the “devices” screen to upgrade to the latest firmware
  6. Verify connectivity through MDSM
  7. Update the hard drive firmware if applicable
  8. Reboot the stack
  9. Power down the server(s)
  10. Power down the MD3000(i)
  11. Power down any attached storage (MD1000/12xx)
  12. Leave the power off for 2-3 minutes
  13. Power up in reverse order
  14. Verify connection to the array and virtual disks and verify that data is presented to each of the connected servers

This update process will take 60-90 minutes but will vary depending on how long the reboots take to complete.

If you don’t need to upgrade your controllers firmware then you can just do the drive firmware.

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