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

Gerry Creager gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Sat Feb 13 08:09:48 PST 2010

Rahul Nabar wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM, Gerry Creager <gerry.creager at tamu.edu> wrote:
>> We discussed this in our HPC group meeting yesterday. I've long been
>> dissatisfied with PERC controllers, but this is now a show-stopper for me. I
>> might order Dell, but not the PERC, ever again.  Who do they think they are?
>> NetApp?
> Don't you *have* to use the PERC? Will the HDDs talk with other controllers?
> Can I hear some more about your PERC dissatisfaction, Gerry? I just
> bought a few and might be better knowing what I'm up against!

You don't have to use PERC but you'll get the full guilt trip if you try 
ordering without them.  At least in the past, PERC was a 
firmware-tweaked LSI RAID controller. I've learned how the LSI RAID 
controllers work, and I'm very happy with them: They are, among other 
things, one of a small set of real hardware RAID controllers. My second 
choice is 3Ware.

PERCs have some tuning that makes sense to the Dell guys who did the 
tweaks, but which don't tend to make a lot of sense to me. I can't 
create multiple LUNs on a PERC array (or at least haven't figured out 
how, yet) and I've had problems with mounting root file systems on them. 
They don't gracefully give up one or two drives for boot access in, say, 
a RAID 0/1 config.

Having said this, I'm not the most facile when configuring the PERC 
controllers are discussed, partly because I was scarred while young. 
Rather than learning about them, I just order around 'em now.


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