Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dell - No 3rd Party Disk Drives Allowed

Third-party drives not permitted:
Is Dell preventing the use of 3rd-party HDDs now?
Howard_Shoobe at

Thank you very much for your comments and feedback regarding exclusive use of Dell drives. It is common practice in enterprise storage solutions to limit drive support to only those drives which have been qualified by the vendor. In the case of Dell's PERC RAID controllers, we began informing customers when a non-Dell drive was detected with the introduction of PERC5 RAID controllers in early 2006. With the introduction of the PERC H700/H800 controllers, we began enabling only the use of Dell qualified drives. There are a number of benefits for using Dell qualified drives in particular ensuring a positive experience and protecting our data. While SAS and SATA are industry standards there are differences which occur in implementation. An analogy is that English is spoken in the UK, US and Australia. While the language is generally the same, there are subtle differences in word usage which can lead to confusion. This exists in storage subsystems as well. As these subsystems become more capable, faster and more complex, these differences in implementation can have greater impact. Benefits of Dell's Hard Disk and SSD drives are outlined in a white paper on Dell's web site at"

I understand they won't support 3rd party disk drives but blocking a server (a RAID card) from using such disks is something new - an interesting comment here.


LCF said...

Can be really nice surprise, after move hdd for other vendor for example after crash :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's just a pure marketing bullshit rather than a real technical issue. You buy Dell storage, you need Dell HDD's..simple as that..btw this mentally sucks!

Shawn said...

Dell is probably bankrupt by now, or atleast should be.
First of all, Sun did that, and where is Sun now? (atleast Sun built "real" hardware that lasted).
But more Propietary enforced hardware now from Dummy-Dell ?, yup, that will sure fly in the future. -NOT !!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if the people commenting on this have any experience in enterprise storage but you don't just use any old hard-drive. I have first hand experience dealing with expensive controllers and people having to get special firmwares thru the controller manufacture, which in turn got it from the hard-drive vendor.

There is nothing worse then having to keep pulling a box apart replacing backplanes and controllers, then firmwares/drives. If you use Dell equipment and you want your warranty you use their drives with their firmware. Dell systems are a breeze and are quite reliably.

Check the ZFS forms for just how crappy even professional level drives are. There are just simply to many bugs to trust enterprise storage to whatever the user wants to install.

You know the user will blame Dell when it fails.

Jonas said...

It's called vendor lock-in. A stupid thing to do i the first place.
All the crap about "enterprise" harddisks is made up to sell the part of a charge of disks that did not fail the quality-tests to bad, with a hefty extra to pay, ofc.
The good stuff goes to the big companies, the not so good to the "open" market and the crap is sold to the consumer. (Thats also true for any kind of RAM, flash or cpu.)

Anonymous said...


You wish, and its not called vendor lockin. I tried a R710 with the new Perc6/i and I had no problem using 3rd party SAS and sata drives.

Also thats not how it works at all. Those enterprise drives are made to specific specs and heavy Q&A testing on firmware. That perc6/i controllers firmware is tested against only those certified Dell drives. All dell says is that if you don't use their drives and your raid magically disappears from the controller don't call them and I agree. I don't even understand how Dell could support drives not sold by them with exact firmware. It's bad enough watching people build critical raid5 arrays using different firmware revisions or even mixing different manufacturers drives.