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Last response: in Components
March 31, 2010 11:36:03 PM


I am an IT Consultant who switched to Dell servers for my clients about 10 or so years ago. I had just taken delivery of a new T610 for a client and cracked the box open and replaced the hard disks with brand new Seagate Constellation (Enterprise class) RAID certified hard disks. THEY ARE BLOCKED! This is absolutely absurd and I am planning on sending the server back to Dell. Their H700 controller is nothing more than a private labeled LSI controller and the hard disks the system came with were nothing more than crummy private labeled Samsung hard disks. For Dell to pretend that they are doing something special with this hardware is a bold faced LIE! This is all about making money and restricting what their customers can do with the hardware their customers buy. What is worse, when you configure your server on Dell's website they do not make a disclosure (at least I saw none) stating that the controller will only function with Dell private labeled hard disks. Further, they should not be marketing their controller as SATA if it will not function with all SATA compliant drives!

What is next? Making us buy our blank CD media from Dell as private label media "certified" to work in their CD burners. Will they require on Dell branded USB devices too, like mice, keyboards, external disks and thumb drivers? This is a fraud of the worst kind and they truly deserve to be taken to task on this restrictive and ridiculous practice.

I represent several dozen clients all of whom have bought Dell servers at my direction over the years. This is stopping immediately. I will not ever buy another Dell product just on principle, since there can be no justification for forcing us to pay them higher margins for private labeled product.
It is ironic that Novell tried this same thing (HA HA - also with Samsung hardware) back in 1985 when they forced their channel to buy Novell servers which were nothing more than private labeled Samsung servers which Novell charged double for.

Dell - are you so ignorant that you do not learn from history!

As a 30 year verteran of the IT industry, my memory runs long and you have now succeeded in losing a once loyal customer.
March 31, 2010 11:50:45 PM

Wow thats crazy it must be only on there servers because my parents have an XPS running Raid and I replaced the crappy Samsung it came with and put some good western digital caviar with no problem.
March 31, 2010 11:55:34 PM

Right now it is specifically with the newest SAS/SATA RAID controllers, like the H700 and I guess the H800 too. But it is a very worrisome precedence. Dell has always espoused open architechture. My own sales rep at Dell was stunned when I told him about this. I hope they get their heads screwed on straight and stop this practice, because I otherwise am in love with their servers!!!
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April 1, 2010 12:19:46 AM

Can you load the LSI firmware to get around this?
April 1, 2010 8:52:25 AM

No. That was the second thing I tried. Ha Ha!!!
April 1, 2010 8:18:40 PM

HAH! try working with their blade and rack servers. they are worse. over 4 years of working with proliants from compac and hp, i had less headaches than 1 year of poweredge servers. hell servers are cheap, just plain cheap.
April 9, 2010 2:09:53 AM

I've still got load of PERC 6/i laying around here so haven't had a chance to play with the new 7-series yet. But the Dell-only drive issue I've heard about them from DELL techs even before they were released (we're mainly a DELL based IT shop ;) ).

There is a possibility of flashing DELL firmware for HDDs. Dunno if there's firmware for DELL equivalent of Seagate Constellation ES, you'll have to fish around.
April 15, 2010 5:04:37 PM

I really wish I saw this post before ordering my T710. Had the same thing happen. The server arrived, I take out their re-branded Western Digital Drives and put in the mine, only to find the drives "Blocked" by the controlled. I contacted their support who proceeds to tell me that the device only works with Dell branded drives, but a firmware update is due out in a few months to fix it.

Needless to say, it's on it's way back to Dell... We too are a Dell shop but I am really starting to reconsider.
June 7, 2010 11:13:12 PM

Gede said:
Hi,....I played around with it,,,,,,, it's not work as the SUBDEV is 1 lower than my current version.
Please contact me for more info.

The link doesn't work anymore for, can you send a copy to me directly? Let me know if you still have it and I can send you my email address. Thanks!
June 17, 2010 3:31:18 PM

I actually had a similar thing happen with a Dell T105 server. I bought two aftermarket RAID controllers to find that nothing would work but the model that it ships with.

It was happenstance I stumbled upon this thread. I was attempting to buy a Dell T310 and didn't want to pay their ridiculous price of $449 for each terabyte drive. In thinking I would buy an H700 separately and then use Western Digital drives. I'm glad I didn't

I've been recommending Dell to my customers for so long. Who else is out there? The HP desktops are crappy slow bloat-boxes; are their servers similar?
June 30, 2010 7:40:37 PM


There was a link published that pointed to rapidshare with a proposed firmware fix that allows non certified drives to be used with the H700 controller. Does anyone here have access to that patch? If so, did the patch work?

I had seen another suggestion while looking for a solution to this issue that involved attempting to flash a spare H700 with the LSI firmware made available for the MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i. Tried that but it wouldn't install; the attempt to install that firmware did not brick my spare H700.

July 6, 2010 8:10:47 PM

tshubert said:
Right now it is specifically with the newest SAS/SATA RAID controllers, like the H700 and I guess the H800 too. But it is a very worrisome precedence. Dell has always espoused open architechture. My own sales rep at Dell was stunned when I told him about this. I hope they get their heads screwed on straight and stop this practice, because I otherwise am in love with their servers!!!

I feel your pain man. I just got a Dell T410 for a customer with 35 employees. I got the h700 card in it with 2 160GB drives for a mirrored c: drive with the intention of added 4 1TB drives for a RAID 5 data drive. I saw how much Dell wanted for 1TB drives and I threw up in my mouth a little bit. I got the 4 drive trays from NexTag and 4 1TB drives for under 400 dollars...cheaper than what Dell wants for just 1 1TB drive!

I put the drives in the server this morning and BAM! Drives are blocked.

Frustrated by this I called Dell to verify this before calling my rep and reaming his butt and sending the server back. I just got off the phone with Dell Gold Tech support and they have a firmware update coming out tonight or tomorrow(7-7-2010) that will be eliminating the block on 3rd party drives...Hooray!
July 9, 2010 7:36:42 AM

Hi all, did anyone try the new firmware? If it support non dell brand sata I'm going to get one for my next machine.

July 19, 2010 7:39:46 AM

I have not yet. I have both the H700 and the LSI version of the same controller in my client's T610 server. I have not yet upgraded the firmware and I am also a little worried about how to switch back to the H700 controller with my existing RAID 5 arrary that is currently plugged into the LSI controller. I guess I will have to speak with someone at LSI before attempting anything because I most definitely cannot afford to lose my arrary which contains the host Windows 2008 R2 server and 4 virtual servers.
January 29, 2012 11:48:03 PM

I have loosely read that the H700 is no longer locked down to only DELL OEM'd Drives (thought the Dell FW Notes does not mention anything about this) but I have not yet confirmed this. I have a H700 on the way, and will post an update once I find out for sure.

January 30, 2012 8:13:11 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey