I just received my Dell PowerEdge that came with (3x) 147GB SAS drives in a RAID 5 configuration. I would like to replace the SAS drives with SATA drives but am not sure what this involves besides getting the drives.
Can someone share some experiences and/or suggestions on how to move forward.
You can use the same drive carrier as the SAS drives; you'll notice that there is a different spot in the carrier for the SATA drives. You will, however, need a SATA interposer board to connect the SATA drive to the SAS backplane.
Also, you cannot swap in 1 drive at a time (and have the raid config rebuild to a SATA drive), as you cannot mix SAS and SATA drives in 1 raid setup. You can have 2 raid setups; one SAS and one SATA, but within a raid volume all drives need to be the same type.
So if you want to 'migrate' from SAS drives to SATA drives, you'll need to back up your data (e.g. tape, network share, etc), remove the SAS drives, put in the SATA drives and create a new raid container (keep it below 2TB as you won't be able to go beyond 2TB (usable) and boot to the disk). Reason for this is that virtual disks over 2TB will have to be converted to GPT instead of MBR (supported by Windows 2003 SP1 and later and by Linux with the 2.6 kernel (so no support by Windows 2000, XP, VMware ESX, Netware)) and you cannot boot to GPT disks (a bios cannot boot to a GPT disk, instead you'd need an EFI, which is only used on the Dell Poweredge servers that use Itanium processors).
If you're wanting to set up 3 750GB SATA drives in a raid 5, don't worry about the GPT/2TB part of my post, as 3x750GB in raid 5 yields about 1380GB or so of usable disk space. Even 3 x 1TB drives doesn't go beyond 2TB. However, if for some reason you want to set up a raid 0 (would strongly recommend against this on any production servers), you'll need to keep the 2TB limit in mind.
Thank guys for all your usefull comments, you have saved me a lot of time. I would like to confirm though that do I need an interposter (I thought that the PE2950 doesn't require one)? If I do require one can someone guide me with what part number it is, I do have a 1x6 backplane with an integrated PECL 5/i RAID controller.
Your question is a variation of the one I just posted (I didn't read yours before I posted my question). I'm trying to add SATA drives and am trying to figure out if I really have to have an interposer card as well. I can help you with the part numbers though. The part number for the caddy that goes with the interposer board is CC852, and the part number for the interposer itself is PN939. I've also read that Dell won't sell the caddy or interposer board separately because they want you to buy the whole thing, including the drive, from them at a big markup. A 500gb SATA drive with caddy and board costs $399. However, if you go to the configuration utility and spec out a system, each additional drive of that type costs only $279. It's hard to understand why a drive would cost more when you install it yourself, versus having them install it. One would think it would be the other way around. That's what got me going on getting the parts someplace else.
This whole business of deliberately withholding certain parts so that you have to pay grossly inflated prices for something you could get elsewhere for about half the price, is really annoying. At the end of the day I'll probably spend more because of the time I'm having to invest in this versus just bending over the log and getting it over with, but at least Dell won't get rewarded for trying to hold me hostage.
I have DELL PE2900 PERC5/i When I purchased the server, it was installed with 80GB SATA HD (manufacturer: Western Digital). I took the drive out and didn't see any interposer. With this said, I can assume that the server does not require interposer card. I replaced the 80GB HD with 300GB 15K SAS. Works like a charm. So I would assume DELL PE2900 will work with both SATA/SAS.
Well, it looks like my previous post got "mysteriously" deleted. I had tried to post a chat session log I had with technical support earlier this evening where the technician emphatically said that the interposer boards were required on the 2950 when a SATA drive was installed (I asked him to verify that after his initial response and he said that he had verified that answer as correct). I have no idea why the post was deleted, but given that Dell won't sell the caddies or interposer cards without you buying a drive, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Anyway, tech support's position is that the interposer board is required and caddy model CC852 is required for SATA drives in the 2950 because the 2950s all come with SAS backplanes. If anyone needs more information please send me a private message with your email address and I'll give you more details.