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PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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Hi.  I acquired older PowerEdge 2950 server 2003 R2 with a PERC 6/i RAID controller at an auction.  The server originally had 145GB SAS15K (rpm) drives but were previously removed.  I installed two Seagate 3 TB Constellation drives but they wont work.  Setup shows the drives are present but "Failed" and will not let me configure them.  The controller firmware by the BIOS Config utility is 1.22.52-1989, Package is 6.3.3.0002.  This  seems to be the latest (that I could find).    The drive LEDs blink green regularly and yellow rapidly.  Does anyone know if there a size limitation on the drives or is it just a firmware/manufacturer issue?   I have no server knowledge but trying to learn 🙂

Also, I need the original OS which should have been server 2003 R2 standard, 64 bit I think...

Thanks

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Re: PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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There are a lot of issues with what you are doing.

  • There are no supported RAID controllers for a 9th generation server(2950) that support drive sizes larger than 2TB. Virtual Disk sizes can be larger than 2TB.
  • The H700 is the successor to the PERC6i. It was first supported in 11th generation servers. It supports drive sizes larger than 2TB.
  • 9th generation servers does not have the UEFI feature. You cannot boot from a drive/virtual disk larger than 2TB in BIOS boot mode. UEFI became a standard feature in 11th generation servers, I'm not sure if any previous generations had UEFI.

I have heard of people using an H700 in a 2950. It is not supported, and I don't know what you would need to do to make it work. Since the 2950 does not have UEFI, you will need to create a 2TB or smaller boot drive for the OS. Data drives/virtual disks can be larger. You should also research file systems. There will be file system limitations when using BIOS boot mode. I think those limits are only on the boot drive/VD, but I can't recall with certainty.

My suggestion, buy an 11th generation or newer server. I bought an R710 for ~$250 off ebay a couple of years ago. You can probably find 12th generation servers for that price now. Every generation of server is more energy efficient than the last. With a newer server you will have to deal with less issues trying to make modern hardware/software work on it, and you will probably save enough money in power and cooling costs to pay for the cost of the newer server in a few months.

Daniel Mysinger
Dell EMC, Enterprise Engineer

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Re: PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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The PERC6i does not support drive sizes larger than 2TB. If you install a drive larger than 2TB then it may not function at all, may function with errors or limited capabilities, or may function without issue but only address up to 2TB of the drive.

There are other considerations like block size that may prevent drives from working. For instance, the PERC6i does not support 4k block size.

http://www.dell.com/storagecontrollermanuals/

Daniel Mysinger
Dell EMC, Enterprise Engineer

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Re: PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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Hi Daniel.  Thanks so much for the info.  I wish I had known this when I bought my 3TB drives.  Can you tell me if there is a newer raid card I can use in that server that will accommodate my Seagate 3TB constellation drives?  I would love to be able to use the six drive bays for raid configuration.  Would this be independent of the OS because I need to move to a newer OS if I can afford it.  Thanks.  ED

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Re: PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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There are a lot of issues with what you are doing.

  • There are no supported RAID controllers for a 9th generation server(2950) that support drive sizes larger than 2TB. Virtual Disk sizes can be larger than 2TB.
  • The H700 is the successor to the PERC6i. It was first supported in 11th generation servers. It supports drive sizes larger than 2TB.
  • 9th generation servers does not have the UEFI feature. You cannot boot from a drive/virtual disk larger than 2TB in BIOS boot mode. UEFI became a standard feature in 11th generation servers, I'm not sure if any previous generations had UEFI.

I have heard of people using an H700 in a 2950. It is not supported, and I don't know what you would need to do to make it work. Since the 2950 does not have UEFI, you will need to create a 2TB or smaller boot drive for the OS. Data drives/virtual disks can be larger. You should also research file systems. There will be file system limitations when using BIOS boot mode. I think those limits are only on the boot drive/VD, but I can't recall with certainty.

My suggestion, buy an 11th generation or newer server. I bought an R710 for ~$250 off ebay a couple of years ago. You can probably find 12th generation servers for that price now. Every generation of server is more energy efficient than the last. With a newer server you will have to deal with less issues trying to make modern hardware/software work on it, and you will probably save enough money in power and cooling costs to pay for the cost of the newer server in a few months.

Daniel Mysinger
Dell EMC, Enterprise Engineer

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Re: PowerEdge 2950 PERC 6/i HDD compatability problem

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Thanks Daniel - good advice.  I appreciate your time.

 

v/r 

Ed Daly

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