[Beowulf] Third-party drives not permitted on new Dell servers?

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Tue Feb 16 09:44:59 PST 2010

Rahul Nabar wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 7:41 PM, Joe Landman
> <landman at scalableinformatics.com> wrote:
>> Please indulge my taking a contrarian view based upon the products we
>> sell/support/ship.
>> I can't and won't sanction their tone to you ... they should have explained
>> things correctly.  Given that PERC are rebadged LSI, yeah, I know perfectly
>> well a whole mess of drives that *do not* work correctly with them.
>> So please don't take Dell to task for trying to help you avoid making what
>> they consider a bad decision on specific components.  There could be a
>> marketing aspect to it, but support is a cost, and they want to minimize
>> costs.  Look at failure rates, and toss the suppliers who have very high
>> ones.
> Another worry is what happens in the long run if the vendor either
> folds shop or stops selling and / or supporting that particular model
> of drive. Frequently the lifecycle of these devices is longer than the
> warranty. The inability to shop around for drives could be  an issue.
> Especially with this rigid approach of firmware rejecting a foreign
> component and not just a warning.

This is an issue with any proprietary technology.  We talk about this in 
terms of "freedom from bricking".  For example, with Sun, there are 
quite a few (now quite nervous) Thumper/Thor owners.  Thumper has been 
EOLed, and the future of Thor is uncertain at best.  We have customers 
ask us constantly if we take trade-ins, and others asking us if they can 
buy the trade-ins for spares.

This is a real issue.

But it is tangential to the specific issue as initially discussed.

> Perhaps this is a paranoid scenario since these are big vendors and
> not likely to go bankrupt.

Erm ...  uh ... Sun, SGI, LNXI, ...

Big != Safe.


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics, Inc.
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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