EqualLogic: replacing disk with off-the-shelf disks?

BENN0

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I know this is a long shot, but does anyone know if you can replace the disks in a (older model) EqualLogic unit for larger capacity off-the-shelf disks (either selected consumer disks like Hitachi 7200rpm or the new WD 'RED' drives or enterprise/ RAID compatible disks)?

I'm contemplating getting an older model from eBay for our lab (so testing only, no production data!).

All I could find after extensive Google searches was this post from a Dell support engineer in a early 2010:
http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/storage/f/4466/p/19416353/19979275.aspx#19979275

You know that this would not be supported and the warranty null, but in theory you could replace the disks with standard SATA disks. 8 is the minimum you would need.
........
Since you are talking about using this for lab / test use, you should be okay. I would in no way put live or production data on this array as the performance and possiable error rate is unknow with this configuration.

Is there any more official/unofficial information out there about compatible drives and maximum drive sizes?

Thanks
 

mwroobel

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What particular SAN boxes are you looking at? We retired some Dell/EQL PS100E and PS5000 units that we got in an acquisition because we couldn't update them to drive sizes we needed. Dell stonewalled after the acquisition and we found that the boxes were locked to specific size/firmware drives. Equalogic and Dell both have a history of vendor locking drives. If you want to buy yourself an older SAN box, look elsewhere to where you can get third party drives or build something yourself.
 

BENN0

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We have a small EqualLogic group in production and I was looking to get the cheapest unit I could find to setup a test environment for firmware and feature testing.
Performance is not an issue but I would like to get to at least several terabytes of usable space so if I could just add some 1,2 or 3TB drives myself that would have been sweet.

I appreciate that Dell/EqualLogic will never support this nor would they volunteer any information regarding compatible drives and maximum drive sizes. I was just hoping some information would be available on a storage enthusiasts forum or blog or something like that ;-)

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you remember any details on what drives and sizes you tried to upgrade with?
 

mwroobel

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Again, which box do you have/plan to get? I can try and find more info on what may be compatible. If you have an older box that is using 250/500GB drives, there is a high likelihood that you will top out at 750 as the max size for that shelf. As to the sizes we had, we had 600GB SAS and were looking to go to 1TB SAS and it was a nogo with any brand drive (We tried every 1TB SAS drive out there).
 

BENN0

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I don't have a test box yet and am not going phase out any of our production machines at the moment.

I'm currently looking at the PS5000XV, PS300E & PS5000E or anything else I can find available with or without disks below ~$5000 used on eBay.
 

mwroobel

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With models like the PS5000XV, PS5000E don't expect to get it to operate with anything greater that 600GB SAS or 1TB SATA. With the PS300E I am not sure, but I wouldn't expect it to support anything larger either. As far as I know, you need a series X1XX model (3.5" version) to support 3TB NL SAS or SATA drives. I am not an expert on Equallogic by any means, I can only tell you what I know from the limited expansion attempts we made. Call your Dell rep and ask them what is officially available, that will at least give you a size limit regardless of what particular drive you need.
 

JTY

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EqualLogic arrays require approved drives, which I believe have a firmware mod to them. This is the same BS every SAN vendor does.
 

Phoenix42

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This is currently possible, there is currently nothing in the current firmware that will block a non-Dell drive been used in a 14/15/16/48 drive chassis - however, it will warn you that the drive is a non-Dell drive... This does not apply to the 24 drive chassis, and the storage blade chassis.

Obviously this is completly unsupported, and likely also a volition of the EULA or some other legal document as you would be using the firmware on an un-supported array, but otherwise it is fine. :cool:

See some of my other recent posts for how I might know this to be true

Hope this helps
 

BENN0

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Thanks for your reply Phoenix42, much appreciated.
Can you also hint about the maximum supported disk sizes? Are there any hardware or firmware limitations or deliberate lockouts as experienced by some of the posters in this thread?
 

vr.

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Subscribing to this to remind me to search my email archive in the morning. I had a link to some info regarding vendor lock in that I was told we waved at a rep to get them to play nice. In our case, it turned out "Company D" was actually not allowed to cripple a PCIe add-in controller's firmware similar to what you're describing and they coughed up a firmware update which allowed us to install generic firmware'd Seagate drives.
 

BENN0

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I found a company on eBay that is/was selling several old models ("PS100/PS200/PS400" I think) and selling them with 2TB Hitachi SATA disks (and you get the original 250GB disks as well).
The add mentioned they where using a group of 7 or 9 of these for their lab setup, all with 2TB OEM drives and selling off the 3 mentioned in the add.
Can't seem to find them anymore now though.
 

Olga-SAN

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sorry to bring back old thread

are there any news on replacing disks on eql 6xxx systems?

we don't have warranty any more just willing to double or triple used capacity with nl sas drives

any good san / nas vendor allowing to use commdity drives in their systems?
 

Thuleman

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More thread-necro yet. I will be filling an old PS5000E with either 8 or 16 SSDs soon™ and will let you know what comes of it. I'll be using the ICY DOCK MB882SP-1S-1B 2.5" to 3.5" SATA 6Gb SSD & Hard Drive Converter / Adapter / Bracket -Black. The Sonnet Transposer has better airflow but is also $10 more per unit which just rubs me the wrong way so I am not buying those. Incidentally this is a great example where this whole NewZon thing illustrates that the IcyDock is $6 more per unit on Amazon as opposed to Newegg. The golden days of online forums making a shitton of money are simply over.

any good san / nas vendor allowing to use commdity drives in their systems?

JetStor ( http://www.acnc.com ) puts no limitation on what disks you can use.
 

BENN0

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Interesting. I wonder if the usage of SSDs is locked in the firmware to specific Equallogic models.
 

Thuleman

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Interesting. I wonder if the usage of SSDs is locked in the firmware to specific Equallogic models.

Not sure, my VAR said that EQL added the ability to load half or all of the PS series arrays with SSDs with firmware 6.x. To me that's kind of an odd statement because the PS5000E doesn't do separate volumes as far as I know. I am currently running fw 6.0.2 on it and there wasn't an option to create a volume for just the first 8 disks, all 16 disks are used in the volume.

Maybe it will just recognize that 8 disks are different from the other 8 and create two different volumes based on that. I'll be able to test this out by the end of the month.

Interestingly enough the firmware release notes (110-6059-EN-R6_RNotes_6.0.4_web.pdf) state that the PS5000E only supports SATA drives (not even SAS).

One more edit, this page shows the EQL controller colors and based on those the PS5000E will not work with SSDs. My array has Type 5 controllers. SSD support was introduced in the PS6xxx series.
 
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thenew3

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We have bought non Dell/Equallogic Seagate 2TB drives for our PS4000E that came with 1TB drives, been using it that way for 2 years now without any issues. We've had to have a controller replaced under warranty, dell didn't give us any issue about not having dell certified drives in it.

We also have a number of older PS5000E's with 1TB drives that will reach end of support from Dell soon, we plan on installing some WD RE4 2TB drives in those. Would've like to use 4TB but it seems the PS5k and PS4k series can only support up to 2TB drives.

We do also have PS6110 and 6510 with 3TB drives as well as units with SSD's. Dell includes 7 or 8 SSD's and uses what they call accelerated RAID 6 for arrays with a mixture of SSD and HD's.
We have a few PS6010XVS (mixture of 8 100GB SSD and 8 450GB 15krpm SAS HD) and PS6110XS (mixture of 7 400gb SSD and 17 600GB 10krpm SAS HD) that we use for OS volumes. The Acclerated RAID 6 is suppose to move frequently used "Hot" blocks to SSD for faster response and move less frequently used "Cold" blocks to HD.

So far it works well. We run VDI off the hybrid SAN's and see very good performance.

We have converted all of our arrays to RAID 6 per Dell's recommendations. Benchmarks for our workload (all vmware, exchange, sql) shows minimal to no difference between RAID 50 and RAID 6.

We have several dozen equallogic arrays and found it took longer to covert from RAID 50 to RAID 6 then it does to move the data to a spare array (or spare space on existing arrays in the same group), then re-init the array in RAID 6 mode, wait till its done initializing them adding it back to the storage pool and moving volumes back onto it. This was about 50% faster than letting the array convert from RAID 50 to RAID 6 while in production (i.e. volumes being accessed).

We took advantage of a new array we had ordered last year and before putting it into production, added it to each pool to user as temp space while the other members are getting their RAID level converted.

So you can use non Dell SATA drives in these arrays, you'll get an annoying warning in the GUI constantly about non-authorized drives, and if you have email notification enabled, you'll get an email every few hours warning you about this condition. I just setup a mail rule to auto delete this email.

We've got a few more units on order, should be receiving a PS6510ES and PS6110X in the next week or so to add to existing pools.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
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Just throwing in some 2 cents here. If you are looking for the disks to to into any Equallogic Array please reach out. Also, I know its a long shot, but if you are still looking for one of the PS5000 series I can do better than looking for it on Ebay, since we test the hardware and provide a warranty and price wise we can beat what you were seeking to get it for.

If there are any further questions I'd be glad to help - Whether they are engineering related or product purchase related.
 

swrightsls

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Jun 12, 2013
Messages
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Hello,

We have a PS5000E with 16x500Gb Barracuda ES original drives. I tried installing a Barracuda (not ES) 2Tb drive and received the following message:

An unauthorized drive has been detected and disabled.
-----------------------------------------
WARNING event from storage array PS-5000-1
subsystem: SP
event: 32.3.28
time: Wed Jun 12 14:06:36 2013

The drive at enclosure 0, drive 15 is not supported on this array. Contact your array support provider and provide the model number (ST2000DM001-1CH164) and serial number ( W1E34WP3).
-----------------------------------------

Based on the word "disabled" it appears that even if I replaced all drives with this 2Tb drive, they would not work. I don't know if using a non-Dell Constellation ES drive would work. We are using v6.02, perhaps if we had stayed at v5.x we could use non-Dell drives. Based on this, I am planning to get 16x 2Tb Dell refurb. drives through a reseller. (Rhinotechgroup.com)

We have bought non Dell/Equallogic Seagate 2TB drives for our PS4000E that came with 1TB drives, been using it that way for 2 years now without any issues. We've had to have a controller replaced under warranty, dell didn't give us any issue about not having dell certified drives in it.

We also have a number of older PS5000E's with 1TB drives that will reach end of support from Dell soon, we plan on installing some WD RE4 2TB drives in those. Would've like to use 4TB but it seems the PS5k and PS4k series can only support up to 2TB drives.

We do also have PS6110 and 6510 with 3TB drives as well as units with SSD's. Dell includes 7 or 8 SSD's and uses what they call accelerated RAID 6 for arrays with a mixture of SSD and HD's.
We have a few PS6010XVS (mixture of 8 100GB SSD and 8 450GB 15krpm SAS HD) and PS6110XS (mixture of 7 400gb SSD and 17 600GB 10krpm SAS HD) that we use for OS volumes. The Acclerated RAID 6 is suppose to move frequently used "Hot" blocks to SSD for faster response and move less frequently used "Cold" blocks to HD.

So far it works well. We run VDI off the hybrid SAN's and see very good performance.

We have converted all of our arrays to RAID 6 per Dell's recommendations. Benchmarks for our workload (all vmware, exchange, sql) shows minimal to no difference between RAID 50 and RAID 6.

We have several dozen equallogic arrays and found it took longer to covert from RAID 50 to RAID 6 then it does to move the data to a spare array (or spare space on existing arrays in the same group), then re-init the array in RAID 6 mode, wait till its done initializing them adding it back to the storage pool and moving volumes back onto it. This was about 50% faster than letting the array convert from RAID 50 to RAID 6 while in production (i.e. volumes being accessed).

We took advantage of a new array we had ordered last year and before putting it into production, added it to each pool to user as temp space while the other members are getting their RAID level converted.

So you can use non Dell SATA drives in these arrays, you'll get an annoying warning in the GUI constantly about non-authorized drives, and if you have email notification enabled, you'll get an email every few hours warning you about this condition. I just setup a mail rule to auto delete this email.

We've got a few more units on order, should be receiving a PS6510ES and PS6110X in the next week or so to add to existing pools.
 
Joined
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Messages
1
Well, I have myself a Equallogic ps400 now at home, we were getting rid of it at the office... so i have it now.. its fully populated with 250 gig drives, after some research i have learnt that i need software upgrade kits to bring it up to par....\

I would like to add 1tb drive.. like everyone else... but i think i need the software upgrade kit... but i can not create an account at dell because i do not have a support account, and i cannot have a support account because its EOF (end of life unit ) hahahaha

so i am looking for the software that will allow me to do a upgrade,
I am now running 3.3.2
I would like to upgrade... so it can at least see 1 tb drives....

anyone want to share some software with me please ... :)

I have ver 5.1.1 up to 6.02 but need everything from 3.3 up to 5... is it possible to share..

this is a unit i will use in my home, :) or if you know will the unit see 1TB as is with 3.3.2


montrealguyhere
 

cyclone3d

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Well, I have myself a Equallogic ps400 now at home, we were getting rid of it at the office... so i have it now.. its fully populated with 250 gig drives, after some research i have learnt that i need software upgrade kits to bring it up to par....\

I would like to add 1tb drive.. like everyone else... but i think i need the software upgrade kit... but i can not create an account at dell because i do not have a support account, and i cannot have a support account because its EOF (end of life unit ) hahahaha

so i am looking for the software that will allow me to do a upgrade,
I am now running 3.3.2
I would like to upgrade... so it can at least see 1 tb drives....

anyone want to share some software with me please ... :)

I have ver 5.1.1 up to 6.02 but need everything from 3.3 up to 5... is it possible to share..

this is a unit i will use in my home, :) or if you know will the unit see 1TB as is with 3.3.2


montrealguyhere

Have you tried contacting Dell through chat support? If it will no longer let you create an account, I am guessing that they could email the firmware kits to you or give you a direct link or something.

I bet they have it on their ftp if you want to spend the time tracking it down.

ftp://ftp.dell.com/
 

dwilliam62

n00b
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Oct 3, 2013
Messages
3
EQL firmware is not publicly available. The license to use the software is part of the new warranty and continues as long you have a valid support control. Technically, once you warranty/contract expires you license expires as well.

Re: Drives. It is dependent on the model and firmware. Anything PS6x000 and PS4100 series will not accept non Dell branded drives. Some of the older chassis may accept larger drives, but were never tested with them. In the original PSx00 series, PS50-PS400, the largest supported drive was 750GB, that was the PS400E.

Re: 3.3.2. I would be very surprised if the 3.3.x firmware recognized 1TB or greater.
 

captecinc

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Oct 17, 2013
Messages
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I've recently purchased a PS6100E. I'm looking for 3tb drives that might be compatible in lieu of Dell branded models. Can you help?

Jim
 

*Hutch*

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Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
1
Hello,

We have a PS5000E with 16x500Gb Barracuda ES original drives. I tried installing a Barracuda (not ES) 2Tb drive and received the following message:

An unauthorized drive has been detected and disabled.
-----------------------------------------
WARNING event from storage array PS-5000-1
subsystem: SP
event: 32.3.28
time: Wed Jun 12 14:06:36 2013

The drive at enclosure 0, drive 15 is not supported on this array. Contact your array support provider and provide the model number (ST2000DM001-1CH164) and serial number ( W1E34WP3).
-----------------------------------------

Based on the word "disabled" it appears that even if I replaced all drives with this 2Tb drive, they would not work. I don't know if using a non-Dell Constellation ES drive would work. We are using v6.02, perhaps if we had stayed at v5.x we could use non-Dell drives. Based on this, I am planning to get 16x 2Tb Dell refurb. drives through a reseller. (Rhinotechgroup.com)
As thenew3 stated "you'll get an annoying warning in the GUI constantly about non-authorized drives". It says it will disable the drive but it doesn't. At least that is the case with my PS5000E running version 6 firmware. I am running non Dell Constellations and WD drives.
 

FLECOM

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any good san / nas vendor allowing to use commdity drives in their systems?

I have had good luck with my EonStor FC RAID arrays... they will take just about anything... I have an older array that the PDF states has a maximum drive capacity of 250gb filled with 2tb drives without issue
 

Thuleman

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Messages
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Just as a follow up: I put Seagate Constellation ES.3 ST1000NM0033-9ZM173 drives into a PS5000E running 7.0.5 firmware and it gave me an error for one of them, but resetting the array via serial port cleared that up and there are now no issues with running those non-Dell drives.
 

jordanl17

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ok guys, I want to make everyone aware of my current project.
I purchased a PS6000 chassis with no drives from ebay. loaded in 16 512gb Samsung EVO 850 Pro drives.
before I loaded the drives I got the controller firmware to 6.0.7 to match my other EQL boxes. after loading the drives I immediately did a factory reset.
I've setup a large raid6 storage pool, and I'm good to go! I do get the message warning about unauthorized drives, but everything works.

I've been warned by Equallogic reseller on ebay that Dell has started blocking Unauthorized drives.
What I need to confirm is; is my EQL box going to randomly block my drives, or does a firmware update to say, 7.0.5**, kill my access to unauthorized drives. ? I'm guessing it'd be a firmware update. but it scares me to think randomly in the middle of the day my EQL will basically shutdown.

So, for now, the answer is: Yes, you can use NON equallogic drives in a PS6000.

My next project is to get a couple of Type 10 10gb controllers from ebay and convert this baby to 10gb. I'd use a Force10 S4810 switch. sick.

** I just read the post above mine. 7.0.5 appears to work. I'll try to find someone who's had their Unauthorized drives blocked.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Just as a follow up: I put Seagate Constellation ES.3 ST1000NM0033-9ZM173 drives into a PS5000E running 7.0.5 firmware and it gave me an error for one of them, but resetting the array via serial port cleared that up and there are now no issues with running those non-Dell drives.

We have a PS-M4110E (Firmware 6.0.10) that we are trying to upgrade the drives on but the SAN refuses to initialize them because they are not Dell drives.

How do you get the SAN to accept non-Dell drives? I've seen a few people here mention getting it to work.

Thanks in advance
 

jordanl17

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Aug 21, 2014
Messages
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I have a new theory. In an array full of unauthorized drives; if a drive fails can you replace it with an unauthorized drive? I should test this by pulling one of my unauthorized drives.
 

jordanl17

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I'm on 6.0.7 and I factory reset and the drives worked. I didn't try to put a non authorized drive in before I factory reset.
 

Cerulean

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hehe we just pulled out a Dell EqualLogic PS5000e that has been running for about 4-5 years being severely underused and misused on a legacy system. It was VLAN'd to kingdom come and was the storage for lightweight backups that tape drives read from. :\

now we can't access any firmware or SAN Headquarters downloads because Dell says our warranty expired on this device.

We're looking into getting quotes for resolving that and also replacing all the drives with at least 500GB drives (currently has 250GB). Today one of my co-workers got a quote from ServerSupply.com (or serversupplies.com) for 16x Dell 1TB drives that would work in this... for a total just a little under 2000 USD ! (wow, not bad)

Right now we're waiting for someone at Dell Enterprise to get back with us. We first contacted them through eqlsupport.dell.com and then also I asked our Dell Sales Rep (assigned to our company) about this too and she forwarded our request to someone she knows. In addition, we're trying to figure out how we can connect to or reset this SAN as it has no VGA output. All its got are two 3-NIC + 1 serial iSCSI controllers each with 1GB DDR-333 RAM and a CF card. :| and two PSUs.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Messages
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Does doing a "factory reset" through the serial port nuke the data on the drives?

Can we do this through SSH into the SAN controller?
 

mwroobel

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What is the Type of the controllers in your box? You should be able to tell from the color of the labels on the controller faceplate (Yellow, Orange, Blue, Grey etc) You should be able to match it here.
 

Cerulean

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Ours is yellow, both of them:
PCBA REV: 70-0115 R10
P/N: 94401-02
RS-LRC-I100-MH3.3-1024-DELL

Contains two sticks of for each controller:
MT18VDDT6472LAG-335G4 200822 CBND0A1002
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SINGAPORE
PC2700U-25331-B1
512MB, DDDR, 333, CL2.5, ECC

And a SanDisk CF card with a sticker on it in each controller:
EqualLogic
Version 3.3.3 080508
P299K A00
94402-02

The bottom of the SAN's chassis has this sticker:
R8-1603-MH3.3-D-4.0TB-1-DELL (it might be R8-1003- instead of R8-1603-)
P/N: 94414-01
ASSEMBLED IN USA 08 48

Another sticker on bottom:
MODEL #: PS 5000 Series
P/N: 94414-01
 

mwroobel

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Messages
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To do the reset you should do it through the serial port. The default group login/pw should be grpadmin/grpadmin if you don't have anything set. Once you login and are at the cli, enter "reset" (all commands without the quotes) and then "DeleteAllMyDataNow" Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your situation), this will wipe all data on all drives, nvram in the box etc. As to updating the firmware, if you can get it keep in mind that Dell has been playing vendor-lock with drives in certain versions and not in others, and I don't know which is which.
 
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Messages
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What is the Type of the controllers in your box? You should be able to tell from the color of the labels on the controller faceplate (Yellow, Orange, Blue, Grey etc) You should be able to match it here.

Ours is a Blade SAN (PS-M4110E). Thing purrs like a kitten, just won't recognize non-dell drives.

Not looking forward to moving all the data off this SAN to try the reset option.
 

Cerulean

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Messages
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This webpage identifies the correct serial settings:
http://psonlinehelp.equallogic.com/V3.3/configuring_an_array_and_creating_a_group.htm

Set up a serial connection to the array. Use the serial cable shipped with the array. Make the connection to Serial Port 0 on the active control module (the ACT LED will be green) and to a console or computer running a terminal emulator. The serial connection must have the following characteristics:

9600 baud
One STOP bit
No parity
8 data bits
No hardware flow control

This appears to be default settings in Windows.

By any chance would anyone be able to provide me a copy of the latest firmware and SAN Headquarters for the PS5000E ?? :sad:
 
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mwroobel

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I'll take a look to see if we still have support on the last EL box we have. We retired and sold off the boxes we got in acquisitions a few years ago and the support on them has since run out. Ill PM you if I get anywhere.
 

Cerulean

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What is a group and why does it need an IP address ?? It asked me to set an IP address for eth0 already. :confused: Can I just not have a group?? All I want to do is connect to the SAN with SAN Headquarters

(btw, still needing latest firmware and latest SAN Headquarter. I'm using an old version :( )

EDIT: aha, supervisor explained it to me. Groups can be used to group LUNs from multiple SANs together. A group IP address can be on the same network as the management IP for the controller but is not something one should do unless they're testing. A group IP address should be for a totally private, physically isolated LAN that only SANs should be on (and share a LUN). I think I am beginning to understand what groups are..
 
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bonesjones

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Sep 13, 2014
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Can anyone confirm the truth about this whole vendor lock out thing???
Because we have tons of EQ's so when a warranty runs out we can still get firmwares and stuff. And although we use all the old ones for stuff that is mostly testing, i will be very pissed if i updated the firmware and my EQ goes down. I know companies can tend to be sneaky about that kinda stuff but i doubt they'd do something like that.
 
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