PowerEdge 2900 Hard Drive Upgrade

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PowerEdge 2900 Hard Drive Upgrade

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I'm basically trying to replace our failed Seagate 750 GB SATA drives and start over with 3 more cheap SATA drives off the shelf from a local vendor.  This server is basically used for test purposes in a VMWare ESXi environment, but would come into play as a very temporary backup server solution to our main 2950 which houses our Windows SBS 2008 application. 

My question is this: Can I use 2TB 7200 RPM SATA drives like a Seagate Barracuda or a Western Digital Green?  I want to continue running a RAID 5 configuration if that matters at all to the question.

Thanks in advance.

Verified Answer
  • Hello chrisatdl

    If you are using a PERC 6 then yes, a PERC 6 supports up to 2TB HDDs. I can't say for certain whether the drives you listed will function, but we have validated the PERC 6 to function with 2TB HDDs.

    There may be an issue with running the RAID 5 configuration. You will not be able to install the host OS on the RAID 5 volume because that volume will exceed the 2TB BIOS limitation. The 2900 system board does not have UEFI, and does not support booting to larger than 2TB arrays/HDDs. You can create very large data arrays, but the array you boot from needs to be 2TB or smaller. The easiest way to bypass this would be to install ESXi onto a thumb drive, and run it from there. You can then create a data array of whatever size you like. Refer to this document for more information on GPT and UEFI in ESXi:

    http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2005099

    Thanks

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

  • ChrisAtDL
    Would it then be possible to just create a smaller boot volume (<= 2TB) installed with ESXi and use the larger 2nd volume as my main storage?

    Absolutely, any way you want to set it up will work. The HDD/Volume/Array that the host OS is installed on needs to be less than 2TB so that it will be bootable.

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

All Replies
  • Hello chrisatdl

    If you are using a PERC 6 then yes, a PERC 6 supports up to 2TB HDDs. I can't say for certain whether the drives you listed will function, but we have validated the PERC 6 to function with 2TB HDDs.

    There may be an issue with running the RAID 5 configuration. You will not be able to install the host OS on the RAID 5 volume because that volume will exceed the 2TB BIOS limitation. The 2900 system board does not have UEFI, and does not support booting to larger than 2TB arrays/HDDs. You can create very large data arrays, but the array you boot from needs to be 2TB or smaller. The easiest way to bypass this would be to install ESXi onto a thumb drive, and run it from there. You can then create a data array of whatever size you like. Refer to this document for more information on GPT and UEFI in ESXi:

    http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2005099

    Thanks

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

  • Thanks Daniel, I really appreciate your answer!  

    Would it then be possible to just create a smaller boot volume (<= 2TB) installed with ESXi and use the larger 2nd volume as my main storage?

  • ChrisAtDL
    Would it then be possible to just create a smaller boot volume (<= 2TB) installed with ESXi and use the larger 2nd volume as my main storage?

    Absolutely, any way you want to set it up will work. The HDD/Volume/Array that the host OS is installed on needs to be less than 2TB so that it will be bootable.

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)

  • Ok, one last follow up question:  I'm concerned now about wasting money on drives that aren't "Enterprise" level for rebuilding this array.  I've looked up the three main players (Seagate Constellation / Western Digital RE4 / Hitachi Ultrastar) and wanted to know if you have knowledge about any issues with these working with the PE2900/PERC 6 configuration?  I think they will work well from what I have read but just wanted to double-check.

  • If you don't need the expense of 10,000+ RPM enterprise drives, then you should generally use "nearline" hard drives in servers, as they are designed to spin 24x7 for several years.

    Desktop hard drives are assumed to be for intermittent use and may wear out sooner in a server.

    And apparently the variable-RPM "green" drives do not work well in RAID arrays, may cause the array to fail, due to having a really long timeout for writing data. The RAID controller may give up waiting and mark the drive as bad when the drive really isn't.

  • Javik
    Desktop hard drives are assumed to be for intermittent use and may wear out sooner in a server.

    That is the difference between Enterprise and Consumer HDDs. Read/Write speeds and most other specs are identical. The main difference is mean time between failure. Regarding near-line SAS drives, they are SATA drives that have a built in interposer that allows then to communicate as a SAS drive. This provides better error reporting and a more robust feature set. It mainly allows the HDD to report more information regarding sequencing and block errors.

    I have not heard anything about the drives you are looking at, so I can't say for sure if they will work.

    Thanks

    Daniel Mysinger

    Download the Dell Quick Resource Locator app today to access PowerEdge support content on your mobile device! (iOS, Android, Windows)