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Rtuah

1tb (or larger) drives for server use?

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I'm going to be setting up a dell server for a non profit agency.

Short question: I'm looking for reliable drives for RAID that are 1 TB or larger. I see replies in other threads recommending the WD RE3, are those the best ones available right now?

I'm hesitant to go anywhere near Seagate after thier firmware fiasco (which I understand even effected their enterprise class hdds).

It's going to be a Dell poweredge T300 with a SAS6iR controller (they apparently don't sell the PERC that supports raid 5&6 built into system without requiring more than 2 drives), such as seen here:

http://www.dell.com/content/products/produ...;l=en&s=bsd

The server is going to be for 15-25 computers, as well as backup documents across them.

I'm going to setup 2 drives in RAID 1, and will have an external solution to do backups of that (perhaps one of those Buffalo linkstation pro NAS 1TB gigabit setups that was on sale recently for under $150).

I especially like the multiuser numbers shown for the WD black here:

http://www.storagereview.com/php/benchmark...69&devCnt=3

I'm guessing that the RE3 is the same drive in an enterprise version.

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Buy whatever Dell offers and don't bother with anything else.

I don't think the non profit would be happy about an extra $1000+ charge for 2 1tb SATA drives. Because that's what dell charges (they actually charge only $40 more to goto SCSI drives at that size lol). It would be tremendously cheaper to go with the WD RE3 (they run about $150 I think).

Instead in this case it makes much more sense to get the cheapest 160 or 250 gig hdd that dell offers and buy the 1tb SATA drives separately.

Edited by Rtuah

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Hmm, it won't let me go back and edit anymore. Anyway, thanks for the reply, its just that in this particular case where money is more sensitive, I think it makes more sense to buy larger drives and put them in. I'll let dell setup the hot plug case for the 160 or 250 gig drives then I'll just throw the 1TBs in there.

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Non profit or not, if you buy a brand server you buy ALL parts from said brand. They're compatible and you won't have anyone bitching about warranty issues. If you want cheap - both in money and quality - build a white box machine yourself. Otherwise all you're doing is messing around. If you need that kind of data and don't want to pay Dell's prices (or HP, IBM, ...) but do want a Dell server you should consider a NAS that works well you OS of choice. But please, do yourself and your client a favor and don't throw in unsupported parts.

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Non profit or not, if you buy a brand server you buy ALL parts from said brand. They're compatible and you won't have anyone bitching about warranty issues. If you want cheap - both in money and quality - build a white box machine yourself. Otherwise all you're doing is messing around. If you need that kind of data and don't want to pay Dell's prices (or HP, IBM, ...) but do want a Dell server you should consider a NAS that works well you OS of choice. But please, do yourself and your client a favor and don't throw in unsupported parts.

I'm fairly sure that all Dell is doing is rebadging hdds. They don't actually MAKE hdds themselves.

Here's an example:

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/product...mp;sku=341-7467

1tb drive in hot swap cage. Notice where it says "IntelliParkâ„¢" and "StableTracâ„¢" ?

Those are both WD trademarks, so thats obviously a rebadged WD drive. I doubt they are selling the desktop version, I'm sure its the enterprise version.

Now dell fails in 2 places on that page, for one they dont have the WD trademark notices. But secondly they conflictingly call it 5400 and 7200 in two places on the same page so its not clear what it really is, perhaps because its likely one of the green WD drives (RE2-GP perhaps?) which doesn't have an exact speed specified.

But the point is, if I buy enterprise level WD drives, the brand and model of which dell themselves use, I'm fairly confidant they will work well with servers. I mean thats the idea of an enterprise class drive model line I think?

BTW, I'm trying to make a compromise between cheap and expensive. Considering that the dell server I'm looking at is only $1475 for the following:

PowerEdge T300 Dell Server

http://www.dell.com/content/products/produ...;l=en&s=bsd

Quad Core Intel® Xeon® X3323, 2.5GHz, 2x3M Cache, 1333MHz FSB

8GB DDR2, 667MHz, 2x4GB Dual Ranked DIMMs

Chassis with Hot Plug Hard Drive and Redundant Power Supply

Hot Plug Add-in SAS6iR(SATA/SAS Controller) supports Hard Drives-RAID

250GB 7.2k RPM Serial ATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Hot Plug Hard Drive x 2

16x DVD-ROM Drive, Internal, SATA

On-Board Dual Gigabit Network Adapter

That looks like a pretty hefty system for that price (if I removed the redundant PSU and hot plug and raid controller its only a little over $1000). So buying those hdds from dell nearly doubles the price of the system.

If I built my own, I doubt I would be able to use the same quality of components for that price. I'm guessing the CPU alone is around $400. Server motherboards and server class RAM isn't cheap either.

Dell has what I consider a pretty nice deal for a fairly hefty small business server, and adding drives direct from dell kills the price (as does adding SBS 2008, ouch, its like $4000 for what a non profit can get for around $150).

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Of course Dell uses WD/Hitachi/WhateverBrand disks but they are Dell branded parts with possibly Dell-specific firmware and they are guaranteed to work. You can't expect them to support a system with third party parts in it. Say you have problems with the array. What do you think they're going to say when you have non-Dell disk drives? It'll sound like "go away". That's why you buy their WD drives and not something you pick up in a local store even if they are exactly the same drives with exactly the same firmware. BTW it's possible that one drive is a WD and the other a Seagate and still they're guaranteed to work together if you purchase them from Dell. That's why you buy ALL the parts in a server from the OEM and you don't play cheapskate adding disks from here, memory from there, a SCSI controller from whatever and a tape drive from whocareswhere. It's more expensive, yes, but you get what you pay for: a working system. Otherwise YMMV and you should not be surprised/angry when their tech support tells you they can't help you.

I'm fairly confidant they will work well with servers

This doesn't cut it for business use and if that's the way you work, then you obviously don't have much experience yet or you're a home user with delusions of grandeur. Either way you're not doing your client a favor.

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Of course Dell uses WD/Hitachi/WhateverBrand disks but they are Dell branded parts with possibly Dell-specific firmware and they are guaranteed to work. You can't expect them to support a system with third party parts in it. Say you have problems with the array. What do you think they're going to say when you have non-Dell disk drives? It'll sound like "go away". That's why you buy their WD drives and not something you pick up in a local store even if they are exactly the same drives with exactly the same firmware. BTW it's possible that one drive is a WD and the other a Seagate and still they're guaranteed to work together if you purchase them from Dell. That's why you buy ALL the parts in a server from the OEM and you don't play cheapskate adding disks from here, memory from there, a SCSI controller from whatever and a tape drive from whocareswhere. It's more expensive, yes, but you get what you pay for: a working system. Otherwise YMMV and you should not be surprised/angry when their tech support tells you they can't help you.
I'm fairly confidant they will work well with servers

This doesn't cut it for business use and if that's the way you work, then you obviously don't have much experience yet or you're a home user with delusions of grandeur. Either way you're not doing your client a favor.

All indications are that they don't use modified firmware. I've checked reports and questions from other people (both in dell forums and searching on google) and the people who have checked the firmware (you can see firmware versions in things like SMART readers) have seen identical versioned firmware compared to off the shelf drives. I agree on the memory btw, because quality memory that is qualified for a particular motherboard is a much more sensitive issue. And bad memory can be nasty, and a pain to track down. But harddrives, I just can't see it, not when buying the identical drives that dell themselves uses.

Especially when the oh so great dell tested hard drives have sometimes been those seagate ones affected by the seagate nasty firmware.

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/...HS64&osl=EN

You can check in the SATA hdd section and see that they offer seagate firmware updates, the same updates that seagate offers. If thier testing process was so great, they would have never selected seagate drives with reliability questions (if you look at description of some of thier seagate firmware offered they say update it for reliability reasons). I'd much rather make my own choices than get potentially shipped a questionable seagate, even if it is "approved" by dell.

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you don't seem to grasp what I'm trying to tell you... If you don't buy a Dell hard drive, you won't get support from them if you have

problems regarding the hard disks. That their drive is exactly the same as the one you buy elsewhere (except having a Dell sticker and part number) WILL NOT MATTER. It's not theirs and they don't have to support it. That they might or might not sell a bad series of drives is irrelevant because nobody can know this in advance. They support only parts they themselves sell. So don't complain when you have storage related problems and they show you the finger. Personally I gave up trying to spec a server's disk storage subsystem based on brand and exact type of drive. It's useless you know. The IBM's we used to sell sometimes had three different drives (Maxtor, Hitachi, Fujitsu) in a single array. Should one care? It's the same for you. You buy a supported disk based on capacity, spindle speed and form factor and not on brand and type.

BTW even for memory I wouldn't sell third party memory, even if said third party (like Kingston) has tested the memory for that system. Why? Warranty. For upgrades on an older server, yes. Not for a new server.

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BTW even for memory I wouldn't sell third party memory, even if said third party (like Kingston) has tested the memory for that system. Why? Warranty. For upgrades on an older server, yes. Not for a new server.

I already agreed with you about memory lol.

Anyway, I undestand what you are saying. But I just don't think its worth the extra $1000+

Especially since dell has just modified its warranty for the new servers coming out like the poweredge T610 (I've been considering going with that intead of the T300 because of the giant leap in price/performance with the new intel 5500 series) to say that SATA hdds only receive ONE year of warranty coverage, even if you have something like the 5 year system warranty coverage.

SATA hard drives in PowerEdgeTM , PowerEdge SCTM and PowerVaultTM systems launched on or after March 24, 2009 (e.g. PowerEdge T610, PowerEdge R610, PowerEdge R710, PowerEdge M610,and PowerEdge M710) carry the lesser of either a 1-year limited hardware warranty or the length of the limited hardware warranty for the Dell system with which the SATA hard drive is shipped.

Emphasis added

http://www.dell.com/warranty

I just can't see how ONE year of dell warranty coverage (even if you buy a 3 or 5 year warranty support contract from dell) that costs $1000 more, compared to 5 year warranty service for from Western digital for its enterprise class hdds is a good deal.

I'm wondering if they did that as a direct response to the problems that seagate caused. Perhaps dell had so many support calls about the seagate hard drives they decided to shaft everyone who buys new servers from them to reduce costs in that area.

Edited by Rtuah

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In that case I'd consider another brand of server. I always knew Dell was cheap - as in providing questionable service - but one (1!) year warranty on a component in a server is... cheap.

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In that case I'd consider another brand of server. I always knew Dell was cheap - as in providing questionable service - but one (1!) year warranty on a component in a server is... cheap.

Who do you suggest?

HP/compaq?

ATA and SATA hard drives have a maximum warranty period of one (1) year regardless of the warranty period for the system in

which they are installed.

http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/servers...forms/warranty/

(click north america PDF at top)

They've actually had that policy in place since 2005, unlike dell which JUST in the last couple months did it.

Or how about IBM?

IBM 3.5-inch 1 TB SATA II HDDs provide highest capacity and performance for storage in System x, BladeCenter, and Storage and I/O Blade systems

...

The HDDs come with a one-year, limited warranty

http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.j...〈=en_US

IBM is the only one who doesn't seem to specifically say that SATA drives only have max warranty of 1 year. But then again, they don't say on that page that its covered for longer if its under server warranty either.

Regardless, even if they do have a better warranty, browsing thier tower servers they don't have any with the brand new higher performing 5500 intel Xeon CPUs series that dell and HP do:

http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/express/servers/x/tower.html

So they don't have any servers that I'm interested in.

That covers the top 3 server maker hits when I googled for SERVERS. I briefly checked Sun too, but like IBM they only have rackmount servers with the 5500 intel xeon cpus. I'm not interested in apple since the OS and all of the applications are windows based.

Any other suggestions? I don't mind doing the research to see if someone offers what we need, just throw a company name out there.

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Guess you're SOL then :-)

What are you going to use the server for? If it's file/print then you're fine with a lowly dual core anything. Otherwise I'd suggest getting warranty that covers the entire server. Yes, I'm a warranty nazi :)

Edited by HMTK

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Guess you're SOL then :-)

What are you going to use the server for? If it's file/print then you're fine with a lowly dual core anything. Otherwise I'd suggest getting warranty that covers the entire server. Yes, I'm a warranty nazi :)

Its WAY overkill for anything they are using it for, but it will last a long time and do any conceivable thing they want to do in the next 5 years at least.

Its going to be used with MS SBS windows 2008, about 10-15 computers. Backups of documents, and they are wanting to invest in a document managment thing, so it will keep the scans and other stuff. Symantec Backup Exec is very low priced for non profits. They use webmail so its not going to be used for email. Their website is done by a hosting company, so no web server or any internet things like that. There's an external router to take care of firewall and web content filtering already so the server doesn't need to handle that. The server is also going to manage symantec endpoint protection for antivirus/anti-malware for the computers, and handle a couple other small things. Really, I bet they could get away with only 250 gig drives, but why not put in the 1 TBs since they are pretty cheap nowadays, RAID it (1 or 5) for backup, have external backup solution of that, and be set for years. Raid will take care of any failures from non certified drives :) I might even get a hot spare. The external backup and backup exec can do bare metal restores if anything goes wrong.

Dell has battery backup of the RAID card's cache so it can do write back caching safely, and the server will also be on an UPS.

The advantage of the dell is that its the latest generation of intel XEON, its got a bunch of low power enhancements which will save money on the power bill, it has dual socket if they ever want to upgrade, etc.

Edited by Rtuah

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Why depend on a hosting company for email when you've got Exchange?

For such a client I currently use SBS 2003 (haven't tested SBS 2008 yet but Server 2008 + Exchange 2007 works great). For SBS 2008 I'd get a quad core CPU - not necessarily a Nehalem considering you have very few users - at least 8 GB RAM and whatever disk space you need but at least 60 GB for C . Backup Exec is very good but I can't seem to find a special price for non profit organizations. I'd be very interested... If you don't have an antivirus package yet, consider Trend Micro Worry-Free Advanced. It's far superior to Symantec and Mcafee stuff.

Maybe you don't know it yet but you DO want Exchange.

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For an NPO, I'd personally go whitebox (Supermicro). I agree with the essence of HTMKs argument. If you go Dell, go 100% Dell. If you go HP, go 100% HP. Attaching a white-box SATA/FC array to a Dell server is fine, but the second you crack the case and put in an unbranded component, you're screwed for support.

F

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Backup Exec is very good but I can't seem to find a special price for non profit organizations. I'd be very interested...

Well its USA only (because they require proof of 501©3 IRS non profit status), but you can check it out.

http://www.techsoup.org

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...only $1475 for the following:

PowerEdge T300 Dell Server

http://www.dell.com/content/products/produ...;l=en&s=bsd

Quad Core Intel® Xeon® X3323, 2.5GHz, 2x3M Cache, 1333MHz FSB

8GB DDR2, 667MHz, 2x4GB Dual Ranked DIMMs

Chassis with Hot Plug Hard Drive and Redundant Power Supply

Hot Plug Add-in SAS6iR(SATA/SAS Controller) supports Hard Drives-RAID

250GB 7.2k RPM Serial ATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Hot Plug Hard Drive x 2

16x DVD-ROM Drive, Internal, SATA

On-Board Dual Gigabit Network Adapter

As usually, most usage are fileserving/printserving (which does not involve cpu), I would look for a $1000 max "new" eBay server (with dual-pro quadcore a SAS hw raid card some even has a Win x64 edition included! ) and add:

  • some RAM if needed
  • a brand new raid 10 conf with 4x WD RE3 $160 drives (if they really need 2 TB) or SAS 15krpm DRIVES (if 300GB $180 is more than enough and astonishing performance are a real bonus)

Edited by HachavBanav

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I find it hard to believe that even with an extended 3yr or 5yr warranty that SATA drives are not covered.

It's been a while since I've purchased hardware, but all of my HP MSA20 drives were covered, DL230's, and a few others..

Did you come to this conclusion by reading something, or by actually speaking to someone? Perhaps a call is in order to verify their hardware warranty support on extended 4hr or next-day warranties?

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I find it hard to believe that even with an extended 3yr or 5yr warranty that SATA drives are not covered.

It's been a while since I've purchased hardware, but all of my HP MSA20 drives were covered, DL230's, and a few others..

Did you come to this conclusion by reading something, or by actually speaking to someone? Perhaps a call is in order to verify their hardware warranty support on extended 4hr or next-day warranties?

I came to that conclusion by reading the warranty statement that I quoted from and linked to.

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Perhaps a call is in order to verify their hardware warranty support on extended 4hr or next-day warranties?

When I talked to a dell server guy on the phone and was asking him some questions about the various components (like if the RAID card came with the battery etc), he said "oh you've already specced out a computer? well how about emailing me the questions instead of calling." I'm not sure what he meant by that since I wasn't really sure what components I really wanted which is why I was asking him the questions lol. Anyway I emailed a couple times and only received 1 reply that didn't help much and didn't answer all the questions.

So....

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A second hand server from ebay for business use? What a retarded idea.

some businesses use worse. you need to expand your horizons. think outside your box

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A second hand server from ebay for business use? What a retarded idea.

some businesses use worse. you need to expand your horizons. think outside your box

I know. Been there, done that. My horizon is limited to what is reasonably possible, not what someone unrealistically thinks should be. You simply don't take risks with business critical machines.

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A second hand server from ebay for business use? What a retarded idea.
I've been visiting this site for a very long time but this thread has finally prompted me to pop my SR forum cherry.

First I'll say the disclaimer. I know HMTK posts some very well thoughtout and excellent points. I've read many threads where I learnt a lot from him. And I know this is my first post so I'm sure I'll get flamed or whatever. However I'm sorry to say HMTK you come across as elitist and quite frankly rude. Firstly please don't use "retarded" like that. It's not very nice at all, especially if you know kids who have been medically diagnosed as being retarded.

Lets look at this realistically. $1000 difference between stuff you buy which has a 3/5 year warranty and something which gets you support from Dell. The fact is he could buy another server for the amount he saves by putting a WD/Seagate or whatever drive he wants in there.

Second you correctly have mentioned that Dell won't support it if something goes wrong. Lets look at what could go wrong that would be caused by the hard drive.

1) Drive fails. Saving $1000 means you could keep two or three spare while that one goes off to be replaced

2) RAID card fails. Same resolution as before

3) Server fails. You have saved enough money to keep a hot or cold spare server

The fact is, yes of course in a perfect world we'd all have IBMs which are built like tanks and we'd never get fired for choosing them. However in the real world if you go to many a datacenter you'll see many businesses running perfectly fine with whitebox stuff. Hell Google run with whitebox stuff and I know that this week they had their problems but if you take the premise that machines will fail no matter what, then you can save money and build for redundancy not waiting for a repair.

Dell refurb store or ebay is an excellent idea. The fact of the matter is, it's a non-profit organisation, any money they can save is good for them. Just because it has a Dell/IBM/HP badge doesn't mean it won't fail. I've used lots of Sun, HP and Dell servers (everything from 1 CPU to 8 CPU) and yes they are good kit but I've also built a lot of servers and seen a lot of servers in racks which are questionable at best, yet they do a perfectly good job for big companies and ISPs. Like Loomy says, open your horizons, it may actually please your boss when you tell that person you could save money and have extra redundancy in the price.

No doubt I'll get shot down for this but I just couldn't sit by what I thought was elitist garbage.

L

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