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63779

January 29th, 2014 08:00

Do I need certified drives?

Can I mix certified and non-certified drives in my PERC 5/I array?

What is the story with certified drives?

Thanks

7 Technologist

 • 

16.3K Posts

January 29th, 2014 08:00

You can, but I wouldn't.

Here are some things you should know about drives:

1. Consumer/desktop/laptop drives.  These drives are designed for 8x5 operation and are programmed with settings to optimize them as being the only disk in a machine, with lax timings and long recovery thresholds.  These disks are generally unsuitable for use in RAID or enterprise storage devices.

You will almost surely experience issues with consumer drives ... anything from random offline/timeouts to not even being seen by the controller at all.

2. Enterprise drives.  These drives are designed for 24x7 operation and are programmed with settings to optimize them when used together with other disks in an array.  Timings and error and recovery thresholds are very small and very strict, with the assumption they would be used in a high-performance, redundant setup.  Enterprise drives are also programmed to respond to a different set of 'enterprise' commands that consumer disks are not.  Enterprise controllers expect drives to respond correctly and in a timely manner to these requests - consumer drives don't know how to respond to these requests at all; enterprise drives do.

You may or may not experience issues with retail/generic enterprise drives - it just depends on their settings and how closely they happen to match up to what the controller expects.  Generic/retail models typically have slightly more relaxed settings than certified drives, allowing them to be more generally compatible with more devices, but also possibly leading to issues communicating effectively with the controller.  Some drive manufacturers tweak and test their firmware to be compatible with various controllers.  Take the WD RE4, for example:  They have compatibility lists stating which controllers they have tested and verified compatibility with.  These are not considered "certified", in that the specific OEM has not approved the firmware, but there is a very high likelihood they will work without issue.

3. Certified drives.  These drives are enterprise class drives, but are loaded with a special version of firmware, tuned to the exact requirements and settings of the controller for which they are certified.  The settings and commands from the controller expect specific responses or expect responses in a particular timeframe, certified firmware ensures that regardless of the make or model of the drive, that drive is guaranteed to respond how and when the controller expects.  Certified firmware is loaded on the drives by the drive manufacturers for the OEM.  This is not a Dell practice - HP, IBM, and most of the big 'storage' names do this ... it is the only way to guarantee the reliability and performance of their systems.

All that said, as a recommendation/suggestion only, you can use "good" non-certified enterprise class drives OR certified drives, but I would not mix them if it can be helped.

11 Posts

January 29th, 2014 08:00

Thank you so much for the comprehensive answer Flash. Yes, I would only consider WD black label type enterprise drives.

 

Would you be able to comment on the issue I am dealing with in this thread?

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/906/t/19542643.aspx

 

7 Technologist

 • 

16.3K Posts

January 29th, 2014 09:00

The WD Blacks are not enterprise-class drives.  They are consumer/desktop drives:
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=760

In fact, this is what WD's own page about the Blacks says:

Recommended Use

WD Black hard drives are tested and recommended for use in PCs, high-performance
workstations, all-in-one PC's, gaming PC's, game consoles, home media PC's and
notebook computers.*

Desktop drives are not recommended for use in RAID
environments, please consider using WD Red hard drives for home and small
office, 1 to 5 bay NAS systems and WD Datacenter hard drives for 6 bay and
greater NAS systems.

I would recommend you look into the RE4's:
http://support.wd.com/product/compatibility/2579-771506.pdf

I took a look at your thread ... could you provide more information about the types/models of drives you are using?  I'll watch for a post to that thread, then I'll answer :)

11 Posts

January 29th, 2014 09:00

Thank you. I misspoke when I referred to the drives as black label. I meant the RE4s which is what I buy. I think their label is black - leading to the confusion.:emotion-10:

7 Technologist

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16.3K Posts

January 29th, 2014 09:00

:emotion-1:

September 30th, 2023 13:24

Thanks for clearing up the certified nas drives mystery.

I still have one Question:  How do I determin if a WD RED NAS 24/7 drive I purchase will install in my Dell PE T430 using a PERC H330 RAID controller?  I don't want to buy a Thousand Dollars worth of hard drives and discover the Server's RAID won't accept them; won't allow me to build the RAID. 

Who do I ask to certify compatibility?

Mike

Moderator

 • 

3.4K Posts

02-10-2023 08:50 AM

Hello,

actually Dell cannot guarantee that an hard drive bought from third party reseller can be compatible.

I can suggest you to contact one of our official reseller that can guarantee the compatibility.

Thanks

DELL- Marco B

Social Media and Communities Professional

Dell Technologies | Enterprise Support Services

#IWork4Dell

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